Saturday, May 29, 2010

sweet yellow puppy

Thoughts from day 4:  
even though sometimes he makes me crazy 
(esp. after five hours alone together of Nobites.Off.Goodboy!), 
my sweet yellow puppy does this and we are friends again. 
PS: right now he is swimming in his sleep.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

cumin grilled chicken with deconstructed salsa salad


2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1-2 roughly chopped green onions
1/2 cup arugula
1 diced avocado
the juice of 1 lime
1 drizzle honey
salt + pepper + cumin to taste


Preheat grill or grill pan to about medium high, but watch to make sure it doesn't get too hot if it takes you forever to prepare like me. (Here I butterfly my chicken to make it thinner and quicker to cook.) Season both sides of chicken with a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper, and a pinch of cumin, making sure it's thoroughly covered. Grill chicken on both sides until the middle is no longer pink.

Chop salad ingredients and combine with arugula in a bowl to taste. When I say to taste, I mean if you like lots of onion, add more, etc. Drizzle EVOO, honey, and lime juice to taste, but make sure the salad is not too oily like mine was on the verge of being. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of cumin. After this picture was taken, I added corn to my salad with lots of black pepper just the way I like it!

Last step: don't judge LB's awesome photos from her iPhone, Monique!

Voila! Quick and easy!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Sampson is home. I don't know if I've ever been more exhausted in my life. Luckily, all the horror stories about puppies yowling all night were not true for our boy. But let's just say in the morning, he was more than ready to make up for lost time.

Let me rewind for a bit. We had a great dinner with Meseidy and Obed, as usual. We have really enjoyed getting to know them and spending time with them. Their friendship is living proof that Sampson has been a blessing in disguise in so many ways. Then we took our "doggie bag" home. He and JT played soccer in the yard for a little while. He only yowled for maybe 30 minutes off and on when we put him to bed and then he was done and slept through the night.

I, unfortunately, was not so lucky. Hopefully it's not Sampson that's making JT's allergies horrible, because he is pretty much allergic to everything outside. I'm not sure how much JT slept, but after going to bed at around 1:00, I woke up around 3:00 and didn't fall back to sleep until sometime after 5:20.

When my alarm went off at 6:16, I think Sampson was awake, but he didn't wake us up or anything. I carried him outside and the fun began. He went potty and then I fed him and his muddy paw prints. He is in this typical puppy stage where he wants me to be one of his brothers. Let's just say when we start puppy school on Sunday, we will have to work on biting and scratching!

So day one of taking care of a living being has been a success so far. I'm not going to lie, there have been some frustrating times already like when Sampson pooped in the house this morning or when he got work pants #1 full of mud, but we are living, learning, and loving every minute. As so many have been so kind to point out, getting a puppy is like having a baby in many ways, but we are determined to take it one step at a time and be really intentional about loving and being patient with him! Because he is just a baby, after all!

Here are some fun facts about Sampson at eight weeks:
  • He is a big boy at a whopping 16.2 lbs! I think he is 2 full pounds bigger than his brothers and sisters.
  • He thinks his water bowl is his personal swimming pool and always dips his paws in.
  • He will not poop unless I go back inside. 
  • He eats a big breakfast and a smaller lunch and smaller dinner.
  • Our backyard is two levels, and Sampson cannot reach the second level yet. (Give it a few weeks.) When I got up on our porch swing on the second level, he was blissfully playing with his football (see above) but started freaking out when he couldn't get to me!
  • His mommy (me) is trying reeeeally hard not to take 20932932 pictures of him and post them on blog/twitter/facebook/etc.!
  • We may or may not be playing the Glee soundtrack in the room with him so he doesn't feel so lonely!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


This morning, I found a sweet surprise 
note on my steering wheel from  
Cannot wait to bring him home tonight!

Friday, May 21, 2010


My run's fate was sealed when JT offered to take me out for dinner. One of my biggest love languages is spontaneous weeknight dinners. I get JT's undivided attention -- well, before and after he is eating -- plus I don't have to cook or clean. And bonus! We discovered Calistoga Bar & Grill, a fantastic new (to us) restaurant on the Riverwalk, which is really close to our new house. Let me tell you, there are few things I get more excited about than sophisticated, delicious food at a reasonable price.

So how did my plan to eat healthy yesterday pan out?

Pretty great! I ate only my packed snacks throughout the day -- except for when my boss bought us sno-cones, but I don't feel an ounce guilty for that small treat. I hadn't had a sno-cone since college. (Remember Shimmers, anyone?) 

At dinner, JT and I split a delicious cherry spinach salad with walnuts, goat cheese, and balsalmic dressing. It was SO good. I am becoming a goat cheese fanatic (try the house salad at Red Rock in Tulsa or OKC and tell me I am wrong!) so this was definitely a treat!

It was hard to choose which pizza sounded best, but JT got this chicken pesto pizza with bacon, tomatoes, and cheddar, which I had a bite of, and it was also very flavorful!

I ordered a veggie wrap, which contained hummus, roasted red peppers, grilled mushrooms, zucchini, onions, and balsamic greens with a side of homemade potato crisps.  After I'd ordered, I realized that my day had a trend: in my efforts to eat healthy, I had eaten completely vegetarian. And everything was delicious!

We each ate until we weren't hungry. I can't wait to eat the rest of this for lunch! It was divine! We will definitely be eating at this cute little restaurant again to try all of the items we couldn't decide about. If you live in the Tulsa area and haven't tried Calistoga since it opened in October, you are definitely missing out on great food at reasonable prices in a location that's perfect for outdoor summer evenings.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

intentional eating

This morning I had the privilege of partaking in my favorite sammy. Look at it. It's gorgeous. And it tastes fantastic. Sandwiches are quickly becoming like cereal, appropriate for any time of day. So since I had cereal for dinner last night, I thought, why not!?

I always feel motivated to eat healthy when I pack healthy snacks for the office. Today's survival includes an apple, my breakfast sammy, the last Lean Cuisine (cheese pizza -- darn!) in my freezer, and I filled up my Nalgene bottle with cold, crisp water -- and I forgot it. Every time I pack my water bottle I forget it.  Why can't I be like dear Andrea Cherie and carry my water bottle religiously?

The reason I need some good fuel today is because my body is in recovery mode. Last night, I signed up for yoga, thinking it would be a refreshing change of pace from my resistance training and running I've been doing.


For one, this isn't your garden-variety yoga. It's sports yoga. And to top it all off, I signed up for the Intermediate/Advanced class. It was an accident! So last night, I'm doing this pose:

I'm feeling pretty proud because my instructor can't believe I'm doing this on my first try and I'm holding it longer than others in my class. But with pride comes a fall. Something in my neck tweaked just right and I fell. Luckily it was at the end of the class, so I was able to finish and then give it some good stretchies.

Since this was only my second class, I came into it worried that I wouldn't remember to say, "Namaste," at the end like last time. I didn't know! This time, I started to say it three different times before she said it, which was awkward but, I guess, funny in retrospect.

This morning my neck is stiff and sore. I had a nice run planned for this evening, barring any repeat performance of the cloud theatrics Oklahoma is famous for.  We shall see how I feel later!

My goal for today is to eat smartly. My favorite healthy snacks are string cheese, fresh fruit, peanut butter, carrot sticks with hummus, vanilla nonfat yogurt with a little dark chocolate, granola, and Pop Chips. (I am officially on nut burnout.)

Now I just need to learn to be intentional about making these snacks the majority of my snack repertoire. The staples. The shining gems I reach for over chocolate chip cookies. Does anyone have any good healthy food recommendations?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

the best laid schemes...

Last night I laid out my plan of attack for the GRE. Everyone I've talked to has emphasized studying hard and a lot, particularly geometry and vocabulary.

How I wish I'd taken this test fresh out of college; I had a geometry class my last semester.

My plan for now is to be consistent for eight weeks and then take it. I'll see how week 1 goes before I sign up for the exam.

Have any of you taken this beast? What advice would you give?

living intentionally

 At my brother's college graduation this weekend.

It's me. You know, your horrible blogger friend? Hope you missed me because I'm about to make up for all the reading you've been lacking and then some.

First, let me give you a little update. We are all moved in, but still unpacking with huge mounds of laundry on our kitchen floor, the only downside to using t-shirts and clothing to pack breakable boxes (or every box if you're us). I am longing for the day when every surface is clean, every item in its place, and I have nothing to do but sit out on our new porch swing and read a book. When that day happens, you will know by my loud sobs of joy.

But I really do love our new home. SO much storage space is nice, it's nice and green right now with lots of natural light. Maybe it's the rainy weather Oklahoma's been blessed with, but I sleep really well in this house. I can really see us living in this house for the rest of our lives.

One thing that's back in action is my refrigerator. Last night, I went to the store and stocked it up with all of our favorite things. I had a very disappointing predicament because I went to my number one choice for a replacement grocery store (Have I mentioned how much I miss my Lynn Lane Reasors?) and just as I was grabbing the last five things on my list, I saw the familiar face of Bathroom Man, the man who offices across the floor from us but still (loudly) uses the bathroom right outside of our offices, often using his cell phone as he takes care of his business. But this is a story for another time!

I have had a lot on my mind, bloggies.  That's why I am blogging from Monique at midnight, because I know this is more productive for me right now than sleep.

This post is about discipline, only I hate to use the word discipline because then I feel like I'm in trouble. So we will use the word training. And I have a lot of training in my near future.

Training a puppy. Sampson comes home a week from today. I'm excited and in love, but pretty much everyone I share the happy news with has a puppy horror story to share. Chewed power cords. Ruined meals. Bitten children. Sleepless nights.

"It's like having a baby," everyone tells me. Only, do women have a special bond with puppies like they do with their babies?

Training for a race. I signed up for The Route 66 Half Marathon in November and their quarter marathon in August. Let's just say I've been bitten by the bug. After reading so many inspirational stories, I've decided to stop flirting with my running shoes and start dating them. Not exclusively dating, but let's just say we'll be seeing a lot of each other.

My dad and I have been running several times a week -- just about 3-4 miles a pop, but it's nowhere easy. I don't think he will be joining me for, you know, 4 times that amount six months from now. But I'm glad I have a tangible date to shoot for, and I think I will do a lot of other experiments with my body in the meantime.

I've learned both from trial and error and the healthy blogs I've been reading (see my new tab blog love to check them out) that what you put in your body largely affects how it behaves. For example, I've learned that if I drink any type of Coke, my muscles will be much sorer after I work out. And if I eat anything substantially heavy the day I run, my stomach feels like a brick, which makes it much harder to breathe.

This blog will definitely keep you updated on my journey. I'm holding you accountable to keep me accountable, you know! We'll start with more than one post a week and see what happens from there.

Training for the GRE. At the graduations this weekend, I got MAJOR graduation envy. I love school, school supplies, reading, studying, and everything associated with school. I am a regular Hermione Granger, you know, except a little less of a know-it-all, but just a little. Anyway, while we were in Arkansas, I bought a GRE book at Borders. There's a Communications/PR program at a little school in the Tulsa area that has caught my interest, but my first step is to tackle the GRE and we will see that happens from there.

I am almost four years out of college, so if I don't study for and take it now, especially before kids come into my life, then I doubt I ever will. Part of me wonders if I just want to see if I still have it, you know? But I am willing to invest in this intellectual part of my life. The test lasts for several years, I've heard, so if a door opens in the distant future, I want to be equipped to go through with it!

You may be asking yourself, why the heck is LB even going through with all of these things at once? I will tell you how it makes sense to me. For one, when I want to be, I am the supreme color coder and chart-maker and task master. Unfortunately, this talent doesn't manifest itself into my domestic life, but it can.

And as for why, I am entering into a stage in my life where I'm becoming restless. With my personality, I can be content in pretty much any situation, including the current circumstances that make up my life. But I am tired of playing it safe. I am tired of spending my energy on the wrong things and not taking chances.

So welcome to my six-month experiment of living intentionally!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Not Me! Monday!

There's NO way it's that time again! Time for the blog carnival brainchild of MckMama -- the ultimate fesser upper and chance to blow off some steam, confess some sins, and bask in the humor, solidarity, and universal nature of imperfections.

To start things off, it's NOT me who is blogging from my new house. The internet/cable guy was NOT the first order of business once we moved in. There's NO way friends like Andrea and Jason could have rallied around us and shown so much support that they moved us into this house in one evening!

Certainly I would have commemorated our first dinner in our new house with a spectacular meal, right? I would NOT serve macaroni and chicken fingers. And I'd NEVER let the water boil over. I get along GREAT with electric stoves, you know.

When the plumber came this morning, I was NOT late meeting him because I got lost in my new neighborhood. Anyone who has been driving for almost ten years would be competent enough to follow directions, especially with Google Map for iPhone at her fingertips. And when I got there, I did NOT discover I'd left our garage door open. NOT me!

The first neighbor we met was NOT this little guy:

We're SO on top of things and have already brought our HUMAN neighbors pies and such to introduce ourselves.

And while we're on the subject of pets, I did NOT peer pressure JT into visiting the litter of lab puppies I mentioned in this post. We did NOT end up staying an hour playing with the puppies and becoming fast friends with their owners, whom I'd only met before through stalking her fabulous food blog. They did NOT graciously invite us to dinner at their house a few days later and there's NO way we actually drooled a little at the aroma wafting at us the second we stepped foot out of the car. After several hours spent talking in their backyard, there's NO way we could fool anyone into helping us move just days after meeting us! But if they did, those people would surely be awesome!

This is NOT my new puppy, Sampson. Certainly any sane girl would NOT let anything like falling in love with a puppy impede the big life transition she's already going through. NOT me, anyway! And even if he was coming to my home two weeks from Tuesday, I would NEVER be the kind of person to show pictures of him to everyone!

Photo by The Noshery

And there's NO way I find it hard to work with this little face in my thoughts all the time!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


 symbolic of the upcoming weekend
of moving/unpacking/etc
wish we were going to be here!

Yesterday, I decided to skip my run. 

Our final walk-through on our new house didn't finish until about 6:30 and by that time, I was tired and hungry, so I decided I'd rather have a really good workout the next day than two mediocre runs in a row.

Somewhat motivated, I signed up for the 6:00 a.m. Cardio Reformer/Tower Strength class at my Pilates studio, a perfect double whammy of cardio and resistance strength training that I've grown to love. When I saw who was teaching it, I cringed a little, because even though I really love Cindy, she sure knows how to kick a girl's butt, if you know what I mean.

When my alarm went off at 5:15 this morning, I was surprisingly alert and ready for class. I even got there a few minutes early and claimed my usual reformer, the second from the far wall. But when Cindy and Co. arrived, she announced that since two of the reformers were down, we were going to improvise and have a little spin class.


During my first and only spin class a few months ago, I almost threw up, was drenched in sweat, and my hiney was so sore I couldn't sit properly for a few days. So needless to say, I have been sticking with my usual class, which is enough of a challenge for me as it is. I was caught off guard, but came ready to play -- well, as ready to play as I can be when you don't have the proper shoes. (Reformer is like a horizontal trampoline with resistance springs, so we can't wear shoes.)

The elusive Julie was mentioned again today, a woman who has apparently lost 50 pounds by doing these hormone injections. My instructor expressed a little disappointment when she heard that, and I agree with her belief that someone should have a foundation of healthy lifestyle habits before they go for the easy fix, whether it's liposuction, gastric bypass, or weight loss substances.

And then I went off.

"I feel like I've been on a DIET my whole LIFE," I said, pedaling into a furious revery. "And the keyword in diet is DIE!"

"Yeah!" my equally furious classmates said. "You're right!"

Their encouragement and our feverish pedaling only fueled my fire. "I'm tired of DIE-Ts. Why can't we change our lifestyles and making it about living? I want to go on a LIVE-it!"

Onward I march, friends. Only it will be more of a stumble most of the time, I recognize. I'd love to know your thoughts, tips, efforts, and practices toward a healthy lifestyle.

Monday, May 3, 2010

monday morning rescue

Bloggies, I know it's Monday morning, but do I have a treat for you. If you are at work, I will advise you not to read any further because you will surely get fired for reading an entire day on your boss's dime :)

In late 2009, I was Facebooking one random evening when I happened across my friend Mary's page. Her child had been tagged in a picture with her brother and sister-in-law, and her sister-in-law had written a cute note at the bottom. Curious, I clicked the next picture, which also had a letter accompanying it. Emily had written letters to random things she'd come across during her day, food she'd eaten, places she'd been, and of course, to her husband, Mr. Loerke (who always gets two letters). I sent her a message telling her how much her letters inspired me, to which she warmly replied with a friend request and we've been friends since.

In these letters, I've found adventure, faith, creativity, beauty, and a love story that has inspired me to be a better wife. "Husband and I have learned that good marriages are a dime a dozen, but great marriages take lots of hard work," she wrote recently. "So we work at ours every day. Sometimes this is easy, sometimes it's really hard. But regardless we stay committed to each other and to figuring things out."

Perhaps her blog might be more aptly titled "Today's Reminders," because the letters remind me of very important things, like how crucial it is to make fun a priority, that romance can be communicated in many, many different ways, a little dose of encouragement can change the climate of an entire week, and great marriages involve a series of little daily decisions, creative actions, and lots of hard work.

It's no wonder I [ruthlessly] steal her letters idea sometimes on this little blog.

Here is one of my favorites:
"Today's Letters: Dear Mr. Loerke, when I rolled over this morning and said it was too early to get up for work you looked at me and said: It's okay Emma, you are brave. I believe in you. So powerful to hear those seven little words, even at 6am. Dear Underwood Typewriter, whenever I see this postcard I can't help but daydream about the holidays. So many good things are just around the corner. Dear Kristie George, we made your coveted chocolate chip cookies again tonight. Your Recipe = best wedding present ever. Dear Beloved, from the 1's to the 12's, you are."
She has moved her Facebook wall posts to a blog, Today's Letters, and I look forward to my daily dose of Tim and Emily Loerke letters/lovestories/adventures/reminders on my Google Reader! Be sure to check them out! You will love it! :)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

a letter from wolfgang

 Dear JT, 
Please take me home and be my family? I have my first round of shots already and promise to be a good boy.

I will be ready for pickup on May 26, so you'll have plenty of time to move in to your new house before then. Oh, I do hope you'll say yes!

If you want to see more pictures of me and my brothers and sisters, click here:

Love, Wolfgang/Remington/? 
*A letter JT received at work this week. If you are in the Tulsa area and looking for perhaps the best family dog breed to add to your family, the food and photography genius Meseidy of The Noshery has some available. We met them today, and they are awesome! (Both the couple and the puppies!) We will see if JT and I will be adding a fur baby to our little family soon.
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