Saturday, February 19, 2011


Having a new baby has made it harder for me and my amazing husband Jonathon to get out and do fun and relaxing activities like we used to. So we have decided to improve our quality of life (and quality of marriage) by making an effort to get out as a family and do something special on each of his weekends. This week we decided to take Cadence camping! Well, really it was fake camping... because we didn't stay over night. We'll save that adventure for when Cadence is a little older. But we still pitched a tent (for naps and play time out of the elements), packed a picnic dinner, went on a hike (ok really we took a walk with the stroller on the paved road, but it was still fun), enjoyed a few brews, lit a campfire, and roasted marshmallows! It was the most relaxing and fun day we have had as a family in a very long time! And the best part? Coming home to sleep in our own beds. Genius. Enjoy some cutie pie pics of our day excursion!

Friday, February 18, 2011


I like beer. But not just any kind of beer. Only the good kinds. I consider myself a bit of a beer connoisseur. You can be a beer connoisseur, right? I think if one can be a wine connoisseur then I can be a beer connoisseur. At any rate, my preference for beer tends to be the darker ones. Currently I am enjoying a delightful brew called Shiner Bohemian Black Lager. Growing up in Colorado, despite the excellent selection found at Old Chicago, I was unaware that Shiner made anything other than Shiner Bock, which I consider to be an ok consolation prize when it's the only choice aside from the typical "Bud, Bud Light, Coors, Coors Light" spiel that every server across the country is so good at rattling off. So I was surprised to discover that Shiner is made by a brewery called Spoetzl in none other than the city of Shiner, TX. Since I happen to live in McKinney, TX, I got pretty excited about touring a new brewery (one of my favorite activities), but it turns out that Texas is a pretty large state. GoogleMaps informs me that it's a 5 hour and 21 minute drive from my door to theirs. Bummer. But thanks to the wonderful invention of trucks, they are kind enough to drop off this little beauty by the six pack at my local grocery store. Thanks to this kind service, I have decided that Shiner Bohemian Black Lager is a new favorite. I recommend it. However, I am guessing that there are plenty of cities similar to Greeley, CO that do not get the full spectrum of Shiner products delivered to them, so here are a few other recommendations, according to my preference, of course:

New Belgium's 1554
Heineken International's Newcastle Brown Ale
JW Dundee's Honey Brown Lager
Grand Teton Brewing's Bitch Creek ESB (sorry for the language, but it's what the beer is named!)
Tommyknocker's Maple Nut Brown Ale

Those are just a few off the top of my list... Of course I reserve the right to add/delete from the list at any time. Because it's my blog and not yours. Just sayin. =)


Goal #2: Lose the Baby Belly

I have never been a self-conscious person, but since having my baby, I have discovered how difficult it is to lose the belly afterwards. So that's one of my goals. I found an article with some ideas for yoga to target the abs... maybe I'll try some of them out!

Amazing Art

I love great art. I especially love great art that is made in a particularly awesome way, such as this!

6 Month Well Visit

Today Cadence is 6 months old! I was not aware until I became a mommy that turning 6 months means so much. For instance, today Cadence got to start (trying) to eat cereal.

She also got to take some pretty fun pictures with a sign, which she, of course, tried to eat.

Cadence's pediatrician surprised us with a cute little blanket for her 6 month appointment too, which was a pleasant surprise! 

Coincidentally, last night was also the first night that Cadence slept in her own room by herself! She slept for 11 hours straight, no problem. Apparently she's getting to be a pretty big girl! 

There are some things about Cadence hitting the 6 months that I was a little less excited about. For instance, 6 months means more shots. One of the shots available to her for the first time at 6 months is the flu shot. For a variety of different reasons, my husband and I don't believe in flu shots. But we discovered that it is much easier to make that decision for yourself than for your small helpless infant. However, we stuck to our guns and informed the pediatrician that she wouldn't be getting the shot today. Thankfully, we have an excellent doctor who supports our parenting decisions, and actually ended our appointment by telling me that I'm doing a great job. This was completely unexpected, because with all of Cadence's health problems, I have gotten somewhat used to doctors appointments being extremely discouraging. Then, the nurse asked me what kind of formula we use and came back with 3 free cans (read: about $45 saved!). 

So, here's the 6 month well in a nutshell: 

Pros: Free embroidered blanket, understanding doctor who didn't push unwanted shots, unsolicited compliment, and free formula. 

Cons: 3 other shots that made my munchkin cry... but that was expected, so really there weren't any cons. 

All in all, it was a surprisingly excellent check up! 

Crock Pot Creamy Mushroom Chicken Recipe

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 of an onion, diced
1 (14oz) can chicken broth
1 (4oz) can sliced mushrooms
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine everything but the salt and pepper in the crock pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste. I made this for dinner today, and it's cooking away... I don't know if it will be yummy, but it smells delish! I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Stephanie Eason Band!

My best friend Stephanie is an AMAZING musician. She is also a wonderful role model and a fantastic friend. She makes a living by making music, and she does a very good job at it! Steph has her own band, and the guys in her band are collectively the most talented group of musicians I have ever met in my life, and to say that I have met a lot would be the understatement of the year. I firmly believe that with your help and support, The Stephanie Eason Band will be the next band standing up to receive awards at the CMAs and the Grammys. Please check them out and then buy their album, The Red Letter Days on iTunes!

Check out all the links and the latest happenings of the Stephanie Eason Band under my tab titled "Shameless Plug."

Goal #1: Travel to all 50 states before I turn 50

There are rules to this goal. Landing in an airport DOES NOT count. Driving through it on a trip to another state DOES count. Here's a look at how I'm doing so far:

States I have visited:
1. Arizona
2. California
3. Colorado
4. Florida
5. Idaho
6. Illinois
7. Indiana
8. Iowa
9. Kansas
10. Michigan
11. Minnesota
12. Missouri
13. Montana
14. Nebraska
15. Nevada
16. New Mexico
17. New York
18. Ohio
19. Oklahoma
20. Oregon
21. Pennsylvania
22. South Dakota
23. Texas
24. Utah
25. Virginia
26. Washington
27. West Virginia
28. Wisconsin
29. Wyoming

States Yet to Visit:
1. Alabama
2. Alaska
3. Arkansas
4. Connecticut
5. Delaware
6. Georgia
7. Hawaii
8. Kentucky
9. Louisiana
10. Maine
11. Maryland
12. Massachusetts
13. Mississippi
14. New Hampshire
15. New Jersey
16. North Carolina
17. North Dakota
18. Rhode Island
19. South Carolina
20. Tennessee
21. Vermont

I am 27, but will turn 28 in less than a month. So I am still a bit ahead of the game, but I haven't added a new state in 2 1/2 years, so I guess it's time to get crackin!


Our precious little girl was born with a tumor on her spinal cord. The journey to discovering her ailment was long and difficult, but now that we know what is keeping our little one from being able to lift her own head and moving her left arm as much as her right, we are determined to help our adorable daughter fight that tumor to its death. Right now we are in a heart wrenching process titled "Wait and See." Thankfully, Cadence does not currently experience any pain as a result of the tumor, but that has not stopped her mommy and daddy from going through a tortuous amount of pain for her. Due to the fact that my wonderful husband was promoted when I was 8 months pregnant, we found ourselves in a brand new city (a brand new state, for that matter), in unfamiliar surroundings and a sea of strangers when our little girl came into the world. This has made me especially thankful for the outpouring of support that we have received from our new community. We have been lovingly embraced as family by people who don't know a thing about us, but we believe that maybe God told them that we really could use a friend at this particular moment in life. I don't know anyone very well here in Texas yet, but I do know this much: there are people here with big hearts.

One instance of this big hearted-ness came to us in a chance meeting after church. We are lucky enough to have found a church to call home very quickly after the move, and we met this woman (who I won't name, since she doesn't know that I'm writing about her online) and her oldest daughter in the narthex of our new church, and found ourselves talking until the person who needed to lock up kicked us out. Since then, this woman has not only become a close friend, but the nearest thing I have to family in a 1,000 mile radius. I had known this friend for about 2 months when we found out about Cadence's tumor. The news was, of course, devastating. My friend invited me to join her Bible study the same week. It was perfect timing, because they were starting a new book that week. I wasn't sure if I could commit to a weekly meeting with the uncertainty of my daughter's health, but I went anyway.

The book we started that week is called "Fearless" by Max Lucado. I hadn't purchased the book yet, and therefore hadn't read the chapter to prepare for that week's study, but she assured me that it didn't matter and that I should come anyway. I arrived that evening expecting to meet some nice women and hoping to hear and read a few things that might be relevant to my life. I did not expect for God to change my life that night. The chapter we discussed that evening was about dealing with fear in our lives. We discussed the fears we each were facing, and I shared with the other women that a mom's biggest fear, losing her child, was becoming a possible reality for me. We proceeded to go over the main points of the chapter, which served as a way to catch me up. When a few Bible verses were listed, we went around the circle, taking turns reading them aloud. My verse was the following:

Do not be afraid. Just believe, and your daughter will be well. (Luke 8:50 NCV)

I cried.

I was absolutely amazed. For the first time in a long time, I began to spend some time in prayer each day. The only communication I had had with God since we began the journey was to yell at Him and to express my anger. It seemed so unfair and so unjust that such a tiny innocent person should have to go through something like this. She had done nothing wrong. That night I prayed over my little girl as I held her. And my faith grew. Our journey has only just begun, but one thing I know is true: We will continue to fight this tumor to its death, only now, we have God on our side.

Take that, tumor.

Cheesy Chicken Recipe

Cheesy Chicken
1 can cheddar cheese soup
2 cans cream of chicken soup
garlic powder to taste
salt and pepper to taste
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Place the chicken breasts in a shallow baking pan, such as a glass pyrex dish. Sprinkle the garlic, salt and pepper over them. Mix the cans of soup together in a small bowl, and then cover the chicken breasts in the mixture. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until the chicken is tender. This recipe can also be made in a crock pot if your available free time to cook is mainly in the mornings. Follow the directions exactly the same, only place the chicken in the crock pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Tastes great served on a bed of pasta! I meant to take a picture but forgot... I'll add it next time I make it!

Favorite Thing #1: Child's portrait of Cadence

To begin, here is one of my favorite things: A drawing made by a dear friend, 3 year old Grace of my daughter. This was artfully created before Cadence was born and before the public knew her name, so Gracie named her "Polly." This was officially Cadence's first portrait.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Sounds of Freedom.... This is how it starts

Today I begin my journey as a blogger. I had a hard time deciding what the theme or topic of my blog should be, but eventually realized that I didn't really need one. I love music. It is what speaks to my soul. One of my favorite songs of all time is by Jewel and is called "Life Uncommon." The lyrics are what inspired my URL:

"Lend your voices only to sounds of freedom. No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from. Fill your lives with love and bravery, and you shall lead a life uncommon."

Another favorite artist is Dave Matthews Band. His song "The Dreaming Tree" is what inspired the title of my blog:

"Standing here the old man said to me "Long before these crowded streets here stood my dreaming tree." Below it he would sit for hours at a time. Now progress takes away what forever took to find."

So that's what I have decided to use my blog for. I want to lend my voice only to sounds of freedom. To me, freedom is happiness. I want to share the things that make me happy, the things that I love, the things that have inspired me, and the things that make me smile.  I have a list of interests and hobbies longer than the dictionary, so the things that I dream of under my dreaming tree will probably seem a bit eclectic or random, but that's just who I am. That is what makes me happy, and that is where I find my freedom.

I am an extremely opinionated person, but I am not a person who is interested in conflict. If you read something on my blog that you disagree with, I respect your opinion and hope that you will just move on to a different post on my blog where you can gain something positive. I want to live my life as a constant pursuit of happiness, and if I find some small tidbit that brings something positive to my life, I want to share it and spread the happiness around. If it doesn't make you happy, no problem. Maybe something else will. That's the beauty of humanity, we're all so different, yet a little bit the same. I don't believe that our differences mean that we need to argue. Arguments are usually mean spirited and only tear others down. This is what our society has come to accept as the normal way of handling disagreements. I don't want to be normal. I want to lend my strength only to sounds of freedom from what is normal. I want to live a life uncommon.

I hope you'll join me.