Monday, December 30, 2013

Last Post of the Year?

I think this will be my last post for 2013.  As soon as I typed those words, it's entirely possible I ensured I will deliver a baby in the next 36 hours and be forced to eat my words when we post a baby update. 

Speaking of baby updates, I don't have much to share except that I am in fact still pregnant!  I have about 10 days til my due date and all is well.  Strangers and near-strangers have generously peppered me with commentary on my size lately, with Jason's and my favorite being "you look like you could pop!"  What a way to describe a pregnant woman.  And how terrifying!  Also at the top of the list "you're really coming along now!" and "you can't get much bigger than that!"  Why, thank you!  

I've been terrible about taking bump pictures, but snapped this one in the pre-dawn hours today.  Huge shout-out to the makers of Puma and Asics running apparel for making ridiculously stretchy clothing that's gotten me through the last 39 weeks.  Although I jogged through my entire pregnancy with Sophie, I switched to walking at 37 weeks this time around when I was dilated to 2-3 cm and not quite ready to get the show on the road.  It's still nice to be able to exercise and work off some stress!

We had a fantastic Christmas and I had a great, happy birthday on 12/24.  Jason taught Sophie to sing Happy Birthday to me, so when I came downstairs (at 7:30, woohoo!) I got a lovely serenade, which we repeated over and over all day!

Sophie has had a lot of practice singing at school and especially thanks to a great program called Music U taught by the awesomely creative Jes Cleland.  Here's a video of the Older Toddler (Sophie's class), Young Preschool and Older Preschool classes singing carols on the McKendree UMC church steps:

I'm a terrible gift-giver.  I know this about myself and I've learned not to stress out about it as much over the years, but I do wish I were better at it! I'm married to a fantastic gift-giver, though.  Sophie and Jason gave me a really beautiful set of rings with all of our birthstones in them - November (Sophie), December (me) and January (Jason) plus Baby Powell, who will either have a December or January birthday.  They're stackable and made locally by a jewelry artist named Judith Bright and I absolutely love them!  Jason also found a really cool necklace by another local artist named Marrah Florita (M. Florita Jewelry) shaped like the State of Tennessee - how appropriate for us! I also received many thoughtful gifts from my parents, in-laws and friends and felt totally under-deserving of all of them but also really excited to feel the love!  

Sophie had a great holiday and received lots of fun gifts, including a new drag queen outfit (or Sleeping Beauty costume, whatever) that she wore until we finally had to force her to remove it and wash it.  

The new house is coming along, too.  Although we were set back a week or so after running into a 14-foot boulder, wet ground and special ordering equipment to break up the boulder, things are progressing!  We were able to move the 10x16 shed out of the way on Saturday to make room for the equipment that will break up the rock, making it possible to finally finish digging out the area where the addition will be constructed.  
View from the bonus room into the former living room / kitchen / sitting room / fireplace - no more wall!
New subfloor
View toward the back of the house - this exterior wall is next to come down
Exterior / future addition site
We were able to look at some finishes and products last week, including kitchen counter tops, cabinets, tile for the master bath and entry/mud room at the back of the house.  We gravitate toward granite companies that have both slab yards and do the fabrication as they're straightforward with pricing and there are no extra steps involved in hiring fabricators to install.  After shopping various solid surfaces, we're still in the granite camp simply because it's so durable, easy to maintain, cost-effective and we've found the look we want.  In the past we've used Brothers & Sons (a local Nashville company) and this time around have found most of what we like at a newer company called MC Granite in East Nashville. We may choose a quartz or marble surface (also available at MC Granite and Brothers & Sons) for our master bath both because we love the look and because it's more cost-effective in a smaller area that won't see as much abuse as our kitchen.  We'll see!  

Although we're leaving the vast majority of the work to professionals, we are doing a few things ourselves, such as removing the wallpaper in the bedroom hallway of the untouched portion of the original house and repainting the three existing bedrooms and two bathrooms.  Jason is off to score and peel wallpaper this week and I hope he's taking some good footage!

I haven't posted much about food lately, but we have really enjoyed the cooler weather and more soups and casseroles that are easy to make and even freeze.  One of my favorites is this tomato basil cheddar soup (can't find the source but I think it was Iowa Girl Eats!):

Tomato, Basil, and Cheddar Soup

  • 2 28-oz. cans of diced tomatoes (I used one fire-roasted and one regular)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped (save time and use a bag of frozen chopped onion!)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt (we used light sour cream last time)
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated (grate it fresh - so many fewer preservatives and tastes/melts better)
  • 1/2 cup basil, chopped, loosely packed (reduce this amount by about 1/4 if using dried basil)
  • 2 tsp of oregano
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions:  Over medium heat, add the olive oil to a large pot. Add the chopped onion and allow to cook until tender, about three to four minutes. Add in chopped garlic and cook for an additional two minutes. Pour in the two cans of tomatoes (juice and all) and the vegetable stock. Stir in the basil, oregano, sugar, and salt and pepper. Place the lid back onto the pot and allow to simmer ten minutes. At the end, stir in the Greek yogurt and cheddar cheese until well blended. Use either an immersion blender or food processor to puree the soup if you prefer a smooth texture. Garnish with chopped basil and grated cheddar cheese if desired.
Enjoy!  Happy New Year to you!

Friday, December 6, 2013


We closed on our new house a little more than two weeks ago and a lot of progress and demo work has been done already!  Here are some before and current shots of the kitchen, living room and bonus room.  All furnishings in the before photos were the previous owner's, photos taken before closing.  

Some of the demo work completed or in progress right now includes:  

  • Removing all flooring in the living room/kitchen/sitting area and bonus room, half bath and laundry room
  • Removing the brick plantar at the front door
  • Replacing subflooring in the living room/kitchen/sitting area and repairing/reinforcing floor joists
  • Scraping textured ceilings
  • Removing the wall dividing the living room/kitchen/sitting area
  • Removing the wall enclosing the half bath and laundry room in the bonus room
  • Demolition of the existing kitchen, bath and laundry
  • Demolition of the fireplace wall and chimney
  • Demolition of the current patio area to make way for the addition
 Construction work will include:
  • Laying hardwoods throughout the original house in all areas where the flooring was removed
  • Building a new fireplace in the former sitting area 
  • Old kitchen area becomes a dining room adjacent to a new sitting room and fireplace
  • An entry way/drop-off area will be built in at the existing back door
  • A half-bath will be constructed within the bonus room, accessible from the living/dining/kitchen, etc
  • The existing back exterior wall will be pushed out to make way for an addition with a new kitchen, laundry room, hallway and master suite

Bonus Room Before:

Bonus room view into laundry - before

Bonus room view into half bath - before
Half bath in bonus room - before

Laundry room in bonus Room - before
Bonus room view into half bath - before

Bonus Room Now:
Wall enclosing the half bath and laundry room is gone! Half bath is demoed.  The layers of flooring have also been removed.
Laundry Room has been demoed and plumbing will be capped off.  Windows are exposed that were previously behind the wall!

The bonus room is now a staging area for all demoed appliances, cabinetry, fixtures, etc. (Hi, Aunt Nancy!)

Kitchen and Living Room Before:

Front door entry into living room - before
View into living room and plantar - before
Living room before
View of kitchen from fireplace wall before (hello Bill, home inspector extraordinaire!)
Diagonal fireplace wall - before (and Mary & Phil!)
Kitchen and Living Room Now:

Wall is coming down - it's now completely gone (pics to come) and no support beam will be needed!

Many, many layers of flooring were removed, along with wainscoting.  The heavy brick fireplace wall and chimney contributed to our need to replace the subflooring with 3/4" subfloor and reinforcing the joists below.
View from living room into former kitchen, which is demoed.  The exterior wall is the next to go!  The addition will be in this area, including the new kitchen, laundry, hallway and master suite.
Diagonal fireplace wall is gone!  Chimney is the next to go.  So much brick!
Like any home renovation or addition project, we'll run into challenges we didn't foresee.  We've had a few good news/bad news situations arise already, but it all balances out for the most part.  Great news was that we didn't need a support beam where the wall used to be diving the living room and old kitchen.  Not so great news was the need to replace the subflooring and work on the joists.  The big question mark in that area of the house was the diagonal fireplace wall.  We knew the wall had to go because we need to be able to square off the room and be able to build the addition and hallway to the master suite from that area.  What we didn't know was what we'd find behind the wall!  We didn't expect the massive, crazy chimney but that's what we got.  We planned on keeping the chimney and flute but in the end we'll demo what was there and build a new fireplace.

It's great to see things happening, and a little overwhelming to know how much is going to happen over the next few months.  Looking forward to sharing more as we continue!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A New House for the Powells!

After many, many (MANY!) months of searching for a new home for our family, we finally found the right one and closed on it this week!  Some might say we're crazy for choosing multiple life changes simultaneously (having another baby, buying a new house and doing some extensive renovations and additions on said new house!) but it works for us and we couldn't be happier. 

We won't move into the new house until sometime after the first of the year because of the work we're doing on it first (would I rather live through days of no heat, no plumbing and no electric with a newborn?!), but I'm excited to share the photos before, during and after and the craziness of the project.  We've been working with an architect for the past month or so to complete the design and a contractor who will be managing the project, the biggest we've taken on so far.  Work begins tomorrow, so we're wasting no time. 

Although we're not quite ready to share before pics, I have to share this one because one of my favorite things about this house is the amazing lot - look at all the green space!
 Finally closing on the house has been a great milestone after a challenging month.  Can't wait to share more as we go along, starting tomorrow!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Losing Someone

Robert Allen "Robbie" Corum Jr., 47, of Lebanon Junction, died on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013.
He was a production line worker for James B. Beam Distilling in Boston. He was a Baptist who loved fishing, ATV riding and his Dodge truck.
He was preceded in death by his father, Robert A. Corum Sr.; and grandparents, Dorothy and Hershel Ricketts and Lula and Ervin Corum.
He is survived by his mother, Sharon A. Ricketts Clark of Lebanon Junction; two sisters, Melissa Corum of Boston and Sara Beth (William) Brown of Lebanon Junction; several nephews, Corey Mathery, Sebastian and Christopher Brown, and Parker Grant; and a niece, Lydia (Squishy) Brown.
Funeral services will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at Kappel Funeral Home in Lebanon Junction with a private burial at a later time. Visitation will be after 1 p.m. on Wednesday. - See more at:
Robert Allen "Robbie" Corum Jr., 47, of Lebanon Junction, died on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013.
He was a production line worker for James B. Beam Distilling in Boston. He was a Baptist who loved fishing, ATV riding and his Dodge truck.
He was preceded in death by his father, Robert A. Corum Sr.; and grandparents, Dorothy and Hershel Ricketts and Lula and Ervin Corum.
He is survived by his mother, Sharon A. Ricketts Clark of Lebanon Junction; two sisters, Melissa Corum of Boston and Sara Beth (William) Brown of Lebanon Junction; several nephews, Corey Mathery, Sebastian and Christopher Brown, and Parker Grant; and a niece, Lydia (Squishy) Brown.
Funeral services will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at Kappel Funeral Home in Lebanon Junction with a private burial at a later time. Visitation will be after 1 p.m. on Wednesday. - See more at:
Robert Allen "Robbie" Corum Jr., 47, of Lebanon Junction, died on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013.
He was a production line worker for James B. Beam Distilling in Boston. He was a Baptist who loved fishing, ATV riding and his Dodge truck.
He was preceded in death by his father, Robert A. Corum Sr.; and grandparents, Dorothy and Hershel Ricketts and Lula and Ervin Corum.
He is survived by his mother, Sharon A. Ricketts Clark of Lebanon Junction; two sisters, Melissa Corum of Boston and Sara Beth (William) Brown of Lebanon Junction; several nephews, Corey Mathery, Sebastian and Christopher Brown, and Parker Grant; and a niece, Lydia (Squishy) Brown.
Funeral services will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at Kappel Funeral Home in Lebanon Junction with a private burial at a later time. Visitation will be after 1 p.m. on Wednesday. - See more at:
My half brother, Robbie, passed away this week after a battle with lung cancer.  We didn't know each other well and hadn't seen each other in probably 20 years.  However, he was my half brother and another connection to my dad, who also died of lung cancer at the age of 52 in 1998.  Most people who know me don't realize I'm not an only child; I also have a half sister, Melissa, in addition to Robbie.  She and Robbie are twins, and much older, from my dad's first marriage.  Suffice it to say that our family dynamic was not typical, but I always imagined we would find a way to reconnect one day.  I've talked before about reminders that we don't have all the time in the world for things, and this is yet another reminder. 

Robbie's obituary can be found here:

We've struggled with sickness in our house this week - two cases of bronchitis (Jason and me), one probably cracked rib (me) and a bout of a stomach virus (Sophie) - and we're all more than ready to be healthy again!  I have no pictures to share this week, not because I didn't capture any moments, but because we laundered my phone with one of the many loads of laundry we did in the middle of the night when Sophie got sick.  There is not a bag of rice in the world that could bring it back to life!  Poor Sophie was really down for the count, but woke up feeling a little better today.  It's amazing how resilient kids can be.  

Even though this week has been challenging on many levels, it has also been filled with some great moments.  We're one step closer to finalizing plans for something that we're really excited about but not quite ready to share.  I (or at least my belly) also seem to have grown every day this week, and I'm beginning to wonder if this baby will outsize Sophie's 9 pound debut. Regardless, we're enjoying the kicks and punches and looking forward to meeting the little guy in just about 10 weeks.  We've also had a lot of fun talking to Sophie about Halloween, finding all the parts for her costume (Ariel - including a red wig that alternately makes her resemble a drag queen or a Troll doll), and making plans to dress up and head to the Zoo for Ghouls at Grassmere this weekend.

Like everyone out there, we're ready for a weekend and have our fingers crossed for all of my data to be safely stored in the Cloud and for everyone in our house to rebound, feel better and enjoy the weekend together.  Hope yours is great, too!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Something Moms Will Understand

It's here, and earlier than I remember last time.  That moment when your skin feels stretched as tight as it could possibly stretch, but you know how much bigger you're going to get.  So. Uncomfortable. That's really all I have to say today but please chime in with your own complaints or miserable memories because, despite all the joy and blessings and all the good stuff, sometimes it is just uncomfortable being pregnant!

However, Sophie is super cute in this photo and I felt pretty good yesterday.  Love this Old Navy dress that I bought for $20 this summer and Sophie loves her new rain boots!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Goodbye, Old Friend

Ok, I'm being a little melodramatic about saying goodbye to my old friend, my reliable, dependable, gas-efficient Honda.  But we had a lot of really great times together!  Like this one (above) when I was just four months pregnant with Sophie on the day we bought the car.  Or this one (below) when we were loading up the Honda with all the gifts from our family baby shower in Moline and stopped to take a quick family photo before jumping in to make the long drive back to Nashville - one of the last times we would be together with my grandparents when they were both healthy.  
That little car got us to all of our new parent classes at Vanderbilt, like this one where Jason and all of the other dads had a chance to wear the pregnant belly.
Although the Honda didn't bring us home as a family of three from the hospital, it got Sophie and me around town countless times over the past three years, provided an outlet for me to get out of the house with a newborn, gave me white noise to blast loudly as I drove a crying baby around town and carried us to all kinds of destinations near and far.  I think the car could navigate itself to Target, the Zoo and some of our favorite playgrounds because of all the miles burned between our house and those places over the past 35 months. 

Sophie cried last night when we told her that someone else had my car now, but we explained (again) that we needed a bigger car so she'd have room to share the backseat with her brother in just a couple of months and she's pretty excited about that, just as we are.  I'm not really sad about selling my car, but I am a little nostalgic thinking back on all the memories from the last three years since we bought it, because these have been the most eventful and monumental of my life so far. 

On another note, we won't be able to bring home our new car for another week or so and, in the meantime, my parents have graciously loaned us one of their cars.  It happens to be a sort of small, low muscle car with just two seats and I can't wait to see the looks I get when I try ever so mightily to gracefully get into and out of that car with my over-sized belly.  

I can't go a week without a picture of Sophie, so here's a shot from one of our many visits to see Boo, Sophie's favorite horse, at Ellington Ag Center.  

Boo was one of her first words, that's how much she loves visiting and talking about him.  This picture was taken just before another horse walked over and gave Sophie a big kiss on the head, so sloppy that we had to go home and give her a bath!  She loved it.  If you haven't been to the Ag Center, check it out sometime. This weekend is the Music & Molasses Festival on Saturday and Sunday, a great chance to see the trails, the stables, creeks and more.  Until next time!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Reconnecting with Family

I've taken another long break from writing, however unintentionally!  Like everyone, we've had a million things going on, some of which I hope to share soon in a future post!  

On Sunday, I got to have dinner and spend a couple of hours with my Aunt Pat and cousin Cindy, neither of whom I've seen in almost 15 years!  It's safe to say we've had some interesting and challenging family dynamics on both my mom and dad's sides over the years, falling in and out of touch with aunts, uncles, cousins and even my half brother and half sister.  Say what you will about social media, but without it, I may not have reconnected with several family members this year, including Pat and Cindy.  
Lucky for me, they were in Nashville (from the Louisville area) for a show at The Ryman and were willing to drive in early to meet and have dinner.  The time we spent together was one of the best times I've had in a long time and it was priceless finally getting to introduce Sophie to more of her family from my dad's side.  You can see from our smiles that we really enjoyed seeing each other. 

We've had some sad news recently about my half brother, Robbie, as he was diagnosed recently with terminal lung cancer.  It is difficult to think about him suffering in much the same way my dad suffered with lung cancer before he passed away in November 1998 and I ask for those reading this who pray to offer prayers for his comfort.  Although I haven't seen Robbie in years, I hear from Pat and Cindy that he looks a lot like my dad and that's not surprising given that I remember him looking like a younger version of him the last time we saw each other.  This is yet another situation that reminds me that we don't have all the time in the world to do things or reach out to people.  I always assumed there would be time to reconnect with Robbie and my half sister, Missy, if we all felt like that was what we wanted. 

On a much happier note, the last few weekends have been full of fun family adventures, including taking Sophie to her very first show, Disney on Ice.  She managed to come home with just a little bit of swag and has especially enjoyed torturing Sparky and Lucy with her magic wand. 

We also had a fun birthday party for a little girl turning three at The Painted Cupcake in Green Hills.  I had no idea they had a party room, but it was something different and the little girls all seemed to have a great time decorating little pizzas and cupcakes and coloring.  Sophie wore her crown all weekend!

Last, but definitely not least, things are going well at almost 28 weeks with Baby Powell #2!  Sophie continues to be excited about being a big sister and talks a lot about all the ways she wants to help her baby brother.  She's also named him... Daddy.  With both pregnancies, we've been with the Vanderbilt Women's Health OB group.  We absolutely love our provider, Dr. Hemingway, but after our last appointment when we brought Sophie with us, we walked away even happier.  Dr. Hemingway embraced having Sophie in the room with us and even allowed her to help find the baby's heartbeat.  Sophie had already declared she wants to be a "princess doctor" when she's older, so you can imagine how excited she was!  I debated whether or not to share this picture, but I love it and it was such a happy moment! 
 Happy Friday and until next time!

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Little Beach Time

Here we go, go, go, go... on an adventure!

A couple of weeks ago, after lots of planning and waiting, Jason, Sophie and I took off for a week on Hilton Head Island with my mother-in-law, Mary, Jason's sister, Shannon, and her family (husband Michael, son Andrew and daughter Olivia) to celebrate Mary's retirement.  Despite the early hour we departed, Sophie was so excited to get on the road to see her cousins, she was all smiles. 

Seriously, the best I could do to get her to stay still long enough for a pic!

After about eight long hours, several pit stops, lots of screen time (introducing her to Cinderella and Tangled) and a time change, we arrived on Hilton Head and couldn't believe how beautiful the beach was or our good fortune in finding a large oceanfront rental in Sea Pines where we could all stay together.  It looked good online, but you just never know!  We used The Vacation Company and were really happy with their customer service and prices.  They even have an app that allows users to access all rental info, attractions, gate codes, etc in one place and that was really convenient. 

The highlight of our week was seeing Sophie and her cousins have a blast together.  We have the best niece and nephew, 10 and 13 years old, who love playing with their two-year-old little cousin.  She's a lucky girl!  

Our condo had four bedrooms and the kids decided they had to sleep in the same room and, even though I'm still sometimes an anxious parent about doing anything out of the ordinary or out of our normal routine, I didn't let that get the best of me and went with it... and it turned out to be great. So good, one morning I had to wake Sophie up after 10am because she was passed out cold after having so much fun.

We did a lot of good eating during our week on the beach, so we tried to round it out with a lot of running on the beach.  It was great to get up and hit the sand with Jason, Shannon, Michael and Andrew every day and feel a little less guilty about all the good food.   And the food... here goes the list: Giuseppe's, Steamer Seafood, Old Oyster Factory, redfish, Santa Fe Cafe, Hudson's and our absolute favorite, Skull Creek Boathouse.  I'd be remiss if I didn't add that we had ice cream at least 4 out of 7 nights and our favorite place was The Ice Cream Cone in Coligny Plaza.
22 weeks

There's a bump now and I got a few stares and second looks on the beach but I decided I didn't mind.  This was taken at 22 weeks, proof that Baby Powell was with us at the beach! I had a chance to be pampered, along with Mary and Shannon, when we took some time out to visit Ahh Green Spa, where I had not only the best prenatal massage I've ever had, but one of the best massages overall.  

We took a break from playing in the pool and at the beach for a two-hour boat ride through the Broad Channel, dolphin and bird watching and just enjoying the ride.  We had a fantastic captain who took our family out in a small boat and we were excited to see lots of dolphins up close as well as plenty of beautiful birds and other scenery.  Here's a video of the dolphins swimming and playing next to our boat.  

It was great to spend a week with our extended family and have it be unencumbered by the stress of holidays or the other events that usually bring us together.  We got to just have fun!  

The ride home was uneventful and long, like rides home always seem to be.  Sophie fought valiantly to stay awake for the entire drive, only to fall asleep about 15 minutes from home.  Isn't that always how it goes?? Overall a great week and we can't wait to do it again. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Just Wait Until...

This parenting article really struck a chord with me this week.  Maybe it's because I'm more than halfway through my second pregnancy and people are full of advice and warnings along with the compliments and criticisms.  And sometimes the compliments and criticisms are one and the same; one person says "It's so great that you're still running!", while the next person says "I can't believe you're still running - isn't that dangerous for your baby??"  (Side note: that makes me want to scream.  Of course I wouldn't run if it were in any way uncomfortable or unsafe for me or my baby.  I have the blessing of my OB team.  I ran through all 40 weeks last time and, once again, I'll take it one day at a time. Every woman and every pregnancy is different.  I'm not exactly eating blowfish and drinking hard alcohol at my daily happy hour.)  

Sometimes it makes me crazy to hear people say, "if you think this is bad, just wait until..." because I just want to be in the moment and feel whatever happiness or despair that particular moment might bring me.  I don't want to compete with your happier or sadder moments!  When Sophie was born and we relished how much we enjoyed being parents, we heard "just wait, when she starts to smile, it will be even better!" and when she started to crawl and we talked about how much it changed life in our house, people said "if you think this is bad, just wait til she walks!"  We didn't want to just wait and see, we wanted to experience what was at our fingertips in that moment.

As the author of the article says, this is a total first-world problem.  However, it will make me stop and think about what I'm about to say the next time I talk to a parent-to-be or new mom or dad.  Just because I've been through it doesn't mean they're not entitled to experience it for the very first time themselves, in their own way.

Rant complete!  Happy Wednesday, and a link to the commercial that makes me laugh over and over.  

And this, just because she makes me smile!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Hello, Weekend

This picture kind of sums up how I feel about beginning the weekend with my family!  We've had a busy week and not much time together, so I can't wait to pick up some dinner that somebody else made and head home to this little curly headed child and Jason.  

We have a big day Monday, "the" ultrasound, the one that will determine whether we spend the next 20 weeks or so explaining to Sophie that a baby brother won't be so bad or listening to her excitement over a baby sister!  I know she'll come around to the idea of a brother if she has to, but she is really determined to have a girl.  

I forgot how often people ask you, when you're pregnant, how you feel.  I feel great.  I'm in that happy place in the 2nd trimester with energy and no more food aversions.  I will say, however, that riding on the spinning rides at local fairs was not a good idea.  Why do they all spin?  Torture.  

I have a love-hate relationship with my CSA share.  I love having all the fruits and vegetables, but I stress out (why?!) about using it and meal planning.  I've found a few recipe gems out there that offer something a little unique, including this Warm Corn Salad from the Skinnytaste blog, which is a Weight Watcher-friendly site and includes points for every recipe.  Jason is a longtime member of WW and is on a mission now to lose 53 pounds by January.  He's already lost 18.2 lbs in the first month, and we're really proud of him.  Meanwhile, I'm gaining weight!

Photo courtesy of

  • 4 large fresh cobs of corn
  • 2 tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice (from half a lime)
  • 1 tbsp minced cilantro
  • 2 tbsp scallions, minced
  • 1/2 cup (40 g) cotija cheese, grated
  • 5 lime wedges for serving
Boil corn in boiling water for 5 minutes, remove from heat. When cool enough to handle, cut corn off the cobb. (makes 4 cups) In a large bowl combine mayonnaise, yogurt, chili powder, and lime juice; mix well. Add corn, cilantro, scallions and cheese and toss. Serve with lime wedges.  

I won't lie and say Sophie was a fan of this dish, but Jason and I really enjoyed it.  Hope you will, too! 


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Powells Go to Chattanooga

When presented the opoprtunity to see the President of the United States in person, I can't imagine not moving heaven and earth to accept, regardless of the party affiliation.  I've been fortunate twice in my life so far to do just that, first in high school when President Bill Clinton spoke in our gymnasium and again yesterday, when Jason, my mother-in-law, Mary, and I had the chance to attend Obama's jobs speech event at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Chattanooga. Here are a few pics taken during the event, something we'll all remember forever.  

POTUS working his way through the crowd. Mary had the chance to shake his hand and was thrilled to meet a President once again after meeting Gerald Ford years ago.

My handsome husband

A passionate delivery of the jobs speech

Special thanks to Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton for making the wait much more enjoyable.

POTUS greets Lydia Flanders, the Amazon employee who had the honor of introducing him.

Finally, here's one of several stories from The Tennessean regarding the event yesterday, including a couple of quotes from Jason and Mary.  What a day! 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Best News

Most people who know me as an adult don't know that, for my family, being surrounded by health issues was the norm for many years.  From my dad, who was a paraplegic as a result of a car accident he had in his early 30s (when I was Sophie age, a little over two years old) to my mom, who was diagnosed with kidney disease when I wasn't much older, and then my dad's two bouts with cancer, first when I was 16 and finally, terminally, when I was a 19 year old college sophomore. 

It wasn't until the worst of those medical situations were behind us that I realized there is life outside of that particular framework.  I don't feel sorry for myself or wish things had been different; it was just the way it was.  What I am is grateful for every day now that my family doesn't struggle with disease or injury. 

All that leads to the truly amazing news my mom received at her annual visit to the Mayo Clinic.  For the first time since 1984, she crossed the line from partial remission to no kidney disease. That's a long way from the doctor who originally told her she'd never see me grow up!  I feel so thankful that she received this good news and I'm reflecting on what it means to know that almost 30 years ago, a terrible doctor gave her a death sentence that she could have accepted but chose not to.  I'm also thankful to my mom for choosing to fight for her health and find the right medical team to see her through this long and difficult journey.  I love you, mom!

I hope good news finds all of you in the days ahead and thanks for letting me share a little piece of our happiness!   
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