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Thursday Thoughts, XXIII

1. Whenever I read a blog where the writer is apologizing for being MIA for a period of time, I always feel somewhat annoyed. I mean, my personal happiness is not dependent on this person posting something every day. We all have lives, right?

But…I’m sorry that I’ve been MIA for a couple of days. Life has been happening.

2. I got to have dinner with my friend, Glenda. She’s a good lady and suggested my favorite, Native Foods.

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Semi-related anecdote:
My family really likes the sourdough pancakes at Pig ‘N Pancake, a restaurant on the coast. There’s one in Seaside and one in Cannon Beach. We absolutely believe that the one in Seaside is superior.

There is a Native Foods at Bridgeport Village and one in Clackamas. I absolutely believe that the Bridgeport Village restaurant is superior.

Glen and I went to Clackamas, but the food was still good and you can’t go wrong with nachos.

3. Last week, on a cookie butter kick, I made these scones.

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They were meh. Don’t waste your time OR cookie butter. Eating it straight out of the jar is a much better use.

4. I’ll say it again. The WWU cafeteria is good.

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This was my dinner tonight. Made to order. Delicious. Also. Lemon bars.

5. Apparently my Hot Tamales obsession is showing itself at basketball games.

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Can’t stop, won’t stop.

Seahawks cupcakes

Let’s talk about a few topics today.

These include:

1. Why I don’t love the Seahawks.
2. What I do when my boy cries giant crocodile tears.
3. How I’m not above cake mix and food coloring.

Last night we attended a family birthday party. The plan was bowling, Pizza Hut and then cake at the birthday boy’s house. J Man was beyond excited about every facet of this party.

Rookie mistake #1: don’t tell your child every detail of what you hope might happen, in case it gets too late and you need to go home and go to bed.

We enjoyed bowling and pizza, but time was ticking away and I made an executive decision that we would skip cake and go home instead.

Sobs. Heaving sobs. Giant crocodile tears running down flushed cheeks. Hiccups.

All I had in my back pocket was the promise of cake the following day at grandma and papa’s Seahawks viewing party.

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I don’t love the Seahawks. When Matty B and I started dating, I surprised him with tickets to a Cowboys game. The game was against the Seahawks, in Seattle.

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Have I already told you this story? I think I might have…

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Anyway, Matty B and I were wearing our Cowboys jerseys and were treated horribly. Seahawks fans are awful! Yeah, yeah, 12th man, blah blah blah…

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We weren’t obnoxiously cheering for the Cowboys. The Cowboys didn’t even win! I was still afraid to wear my Cowboys jersey as we walked back to the car.

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I don’t really care anymore. But when people question my lack of allegiance to the Seahawks, I tell them that story.

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All of this to say, do you see my undying devotion to my Seahawks loving son?

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We made cupcakes, sporting Seahawks blue and green.

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The cupcakes tasted really good.

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And it was a good thing, because the Hawks recent win was just a little bitter…:)

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Am I the one in control?

I feel like I’m a fairly stable person. I have good days and bad days like everyone else, but I’d like to think that I’m pretty low maintenance, emotionally.

Yesterday, however, I was dealing with some pretty crazy anxiety. This was brought on by a number of things, including, but not limited to:

1. Whooping Cough
2. Budgets
3. Potential campus violence. I’ve been updating our emergency materials as a member of the crisis management team and even talking about this stuff is scary.
4. Really uncomfortable shoes (I actually went home and changed.)

All of these things were absolutely out of my control (other than the shoes). I hate that. I pride myself on being organized and forward-thinking enough that I can typically at least have the illusion of control.

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I knew my anxiety was getting bad when I ate breakfast foods for all three meals yesterday.

1. Oatmeal for breakfast
2. Breakfast burrito for lunch
3. Peanut butter banana toast for dinner

(Also, note the fuzzy pajamas and slippers. They didn’t seem to help.)

I had trouble sleeping last night. I just couldn’t stop my brain.

Have I mentioned my New Year’s resolutions?

1. Tweet. This is more of a work resolution, but I need to figure it out personally before I start adding this to our social media menu.

2. Don’t say negative things about other people in front of my kids (or student workers).

3. Be consistent with my daily devotion.

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And so I read this:

“It is not so much adverse events that make you anxious as it is your thoughts about those events. Your mind engages in efforts to take control of a situation, to bring about the result you desire. Your thoughts close in on the problem like ravenous wolves. Determined to make things go your way, you forget that I am in charge of your life.”
― Sarah Young, Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence

He is in charge. He. In charge.

I’ve gotta remember that. And believe it. And live my life as such.

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Because if He’s in charge of #’s 1-3 above, then I can work on managing my children who think it’s hilarious to trade shirts…

WIAW, and the violinist

I took pictures of what I ate today. I feel like the pictures are kind of boring. I do, however, have a funny story about J Man, so I’m going to tell you a funny story while you look at boring pictures of food.

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Breakfast: grapenuts, Greek yogurt and canned peaches

So, J Man has been taking group violin lessons at school, but since the dude’s only in Kindergarten, they aren’t actually learning on a violin. They’ve been learning on a box. I haven’t seen this magical box, but I imagine it to be something like a shoebox with a few strings tied around it.

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Snack: coffee and an apple

My boy has been slightly disappointed in his box and lack of violin, but he enjoys the lessons because they’re during kindergarten rest time because he’s a musical genius.

A few nights ago, he was in the bathtub and I was hanging out, trying to make conversation.

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Lunch: green smoothie, too much hummus and a pile of unpictured raw veggies

Me: “Did you have violin today?”

J Man: “Yes, and I got to play a song on a real violin!”

Me: “Wow! That’s awesome! How did it go?”

J Man: (concentrating very hard) “Er-eee, er-er-eee, er-eee, eee!”

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Dinner: green salad with ranch, whole wheat pasta with marinara, garlic bread.

I just about died laughing. This pleased my violinist very much because he loves to make me laugh, but he was definitely bewildered, not understanding why his very obvious impression of his violin playing wasn’t what I was expecting when I asked, “how did it go?”

Luckily, I have this blog so I can write these stories down and record them forever.

Luckily, you have this blog so you can look at boring photos of my meals.

Win-win, no?

Cookie Butter Cookies

Sometimes, what seems like a good idea, is in fact a terrible idea.

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This is a photo of my children after I took away their safety scissors because they were attempting to cut a hole in the ceiling. Yes, the ceiling.

J Man explained to me that they were trying to create a secret passageway through the house so that they could travel from their bedroom to the playroom without anyone knowing.

As you can see above, they were quite somber when I dashed their secret passageway dreams into the rocks.

Sometimes, what seems like a good idea, is in fact a terrible idea.

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Luckily, for all you cookie butter lovers, my good idea was actually an awesome idea.

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I was supposed to make cookies for a work party. Is anyone else absolutely burnt out on cookies after the holidays? I wanted nothing peppermint, nothing gingerbread, and to be perfectly honest, nothing chocolate.

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We’ve had two jars of cookie butter in the pantry since Thanksgiving and now that Matty B is being healthy (more about that another day), I knew I needed to use it up.

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I used this recipe from Averie Cooks and it was super successful.

My tips for this recipe:

1. I doubled the recipe. This made about 2 1/2 dozen cookies and I needed every single one.

2. Yes, that means doubling the vanilla. Yes, you’ll be using 3 TBS of vanilla. Just do it.

3. She instructs no more than 9 minutes in the oven if you want them soft. After 9 minutes mine were still raw. I did 11 and found that to be perfect.

4. I used a mixture of creamy and crunchy cookie butter, but my preference would be all crunchy.

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These cookies aren’t vegan, but after tasting one a coworker told me that he liked me better “not vegan” too, so I’ll let you figure out what to do with that.

The cookies are pretty amazing. So amazing that you might wish for a secret passageway to the kitchen to get some more. Don’t worry. I know just the kids who can make that secret passageway a reality. All they need is a good pair of safety scissors.

Salt and Pepper Edamame

It was not a great day for football in the Bryant house today.

To catch you up, our allegiance is as follows:

1. Matty B: Cowboys and Cowboys only. Additionally, any other team who has ever played and beat the Cowboys are on the blacklist, therefore he also likes…

…no other team.

2. Me: Broncos, but only because 5 years ago Peyton Manning was in a really funny commercial and I’ve been a fan ever since. For this very reason I’m a former Colts fan, and when Peyton retires (tomorrow?) I will no longer care about football.

3. J Man: Every. Single. Team.

If you were to ask him to pick a #1 fave, it would be the Seahawks, but he loves any and all football teams. (And he has the jerseys to prove it. He saves his money and then we “online” (aka amazon) jerseys for his collection. He currently has Seahawks, Eagles, Giants, Texans, Vikings and Broncos- and he doesn’t know it yet, but a Redskins jersey for his birthday (that’s for you, Sha Sha!)

4. Miss Rae: The “Bikings” (Vikings- because she adores her Unk C) or whoever is the flavor of the moment. If there were a team with pink and purple jerseys, she’d be a diehard fan.

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We watched a lot of football today. It wasn’t pretty. Luckily, Matty B knew that he had impressionable eyes and ears around him, so the sportsmanship was impressive. Still, with both the Broncos and the Cowboys out of the playoffs, it was a bit of a bummer.

I really wanted to stress eat some BBQ potato chips, but we didn’t have any.

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I stress ate edamame instead. I used frozen edamame, blanched it for about 4-5 minutes and then sautéed with olive oil, salt and pepper.

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They got all brown and roasted and crunchy and were super addictive. Kind of like lima beans. Yes, I find lima beans addictive.

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I guess I need a new team to cheer for during the next two weeks. Maybe I’ll renew my love for the Colts. My allegiance will always be with Peyton, so it seems only right to show them some love. And if I can convince them to change their colors to pink and purple, they’ll gain a 3 year old fan too.

Boardman, OR

We were kind of in a rut.

Our weekends tend to follow similar paths, week after week.

This path includes church, scones, Legos, laundry, football and grocery shopping, maybe dinner with friends or family. Some tasks are necessary, some are just fun, but either way, a rut we were in.

Friday night, Matty B and I were laying in bed and I said, “I just want to go somewhere.” My intention was somewhere more than Starbucks, but somewhere less than Portland.

Boardman, OR fits that description almost exactly.

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We’ve been to Boardman twice, both times for the cute little 4th of July celebration they do. Last year, we noticed the SAGE Center and promised we’d return to visit someday.

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Today was that day. For PDX people, imagine 1/4 of OMSI. For Walla Walla people, imagine Fort Walla x10.

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There was a really cool Alexia potato exhibit that had a “real” conveyor belt to show the process.

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There was a hot air ballon “ride” that Miss Rae was afraid of (and that made Matty B nauseous) but J Man seemed to enjoy.

But the best part of all? The tractor driving game!

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As you can see, neither child is meant to be a farmer.

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Warning! Turn around!

In addition, there was a cute outdoor playground…

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…and no trip to Boardman is complete without a little good old fashioned rock throwing!

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We grabbed ice cream on our way out of town (note to self: J Man does NOT like the pieces of bubble gum in bubble gum ice cream and you will find yourself pawing through his cup, picking out frozen bubble gum chunks) and all in all, it was a great little trip!

I still want to go to Portland.

I still want to go to Starbucks.

But Boardman helped me scratch my “I wanna go somewhere” itch and I would recommend it to families in Walla Walla.

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