You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2011.

I’m finding it hard to believe that the last days of 2011 are already upon us. The years certainly tend to go by faster as I get older, but this one flew by at lightening speed. It was a good one, this year. And looking back I feel fortunate to find so little negative, so little sadness. This year was actually totally defined by joy.

Owen grew day-by-day and before our eyes went from a squawking newborn to a beautiful, intelligent, funny boy. We celebrated his first birthday in the backyard of the house we brought him home to, surrounded by family and friends and so much love. He took his first steps, spoke his first sentence (“oh, my Dada!”) and started to (sort of) count to ten. He is our everything, this kid.

The most stressful part of the year was selling our old house and buying another. There was a period of time where it was looking pretty likely that we would have no official place to live and would possibly end up in my mother-in-law’s basement until the housing issue was resolved. Luckily for all of us, that didn’t happen, and in a span of 24 hours we moved out of one house, closed on two, and moved into our new house. It was a whirlwind of emotions and boxes, but in the end, we found ourselves on the end of quiet cul-de-sac in what could very well be our Forever House. We’ve spent far too much money at Lowe’s, and even more hours dreaming about our future here. From the first night it felt like home, and I think that makes it just perfect.

We spent the summer taking Owen out on the boat, celebrating the weddings of people we love and digging our toes in the sand. Autumn included our first night away from him, where we went to New Hampshire to celebrate our third wedding anniversary, his first Halloween where he was the MOST adorable lion I have ever seen, and trips to pick out pumpkins.

Autumn also brought the news that another baby is coming into our lives, and if that isn’t the icing on the 2011 cake, I don’t know what is.

We ended the year with a cozy Christmas with family in our new home, stockings crowding the mantel I always dreamed about and more presents than we deserved.

Tomorrow is my twenty-ninth birthday and the last day of the year. I really can’t say anything bad about 28 (other than the fact that it’s inching me that much closer to 30), and can only hope that 29 can hold a candle to how great this year was. I plan on stuffing my face with cupcakes and trying my very best to stay up till midnight. But no promises.

Happy New Year, everyone. See you in 2012!

Thanks for the congratulations, everyone. We are super excited for this next little one to join our family. But before I talk about it, I need to get something out of the way.

I’ve gone back through my archives to compare my pregnancy with Owen (the baby stuff starts here, if you’re interested) to this one and omigod, you guys.

I was SO ANNOYING.

Like, seriously. I got all uppity at the time when some people suggested that maybe I couldn’t talk about anything but being pregnant, but now I will agree that all the preeeeeciousness and ammmmaaazingness and oh my goodness being pregnant is such happy little bubbleness of those posts is a little overwhelming. I mean, I’m glad I documented it all. I’m glad I can look back and remember all those tiny things that I probably would have forgotten and I really was completely and totally in awe of being pregnant for the first time. It’s really quite awesome. But still. I’d like to go back and tell first-time pregnant me to chill just a little bit and go eat another bowl of mac and cheese.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I am beyond thrilled to be pregnant again. I feel so very fortunate and blessed to be able to conceive easily and that everything seems to be healthy and going according to plan. But maybe this time, when I write about it, it won’t be so…I don’t know…Pink. And fluffy. And won’t be the topic of EVERY SINGLE BLOG POST OMMIIIGGGOOOD WHAT HAPPENED TO MY BRAIN?

Phew. Feels good to get that off of my chest. That being said, I’m still going to talk about it today! Hehe.

~

Thing is, even if I wanted to focus all of my energy on being pregnant again, I just can’t. Because unlike the first time when I was unemployed and had all the time in the world to daydream and la la la, having a toddler just takes most of my focus away from it. Owen woke up one morning and was suddenly this little boy who jumps on the couch and discovers a tote of clothes makes a great stool for climbing up onto our bed and is constantly running around, zooming trucks and knocking down block towers and is SO MUCH FUN, and also, very tiring. By the time his nap rolls around I find myself collapsing onto the couch and passing the heck out.

The nausea this time was way worse, but  it’s basically gone now unless I let myself get too hungry. The thing that kills me is the fatigue, which I’m sure is equal parts growing a human and chasing an 18-month old at the same time. Sometimes on days Michael is home, I go back to sleep for an hour or so in the morning because otherwise I’m not going to be all the mom I can be to Owen. And if we’re being honest, sometimes even that nap doesn’t stop me from laying on the couch while he plays because oooh, I need a break.

All those books I read the first time remain packed away or gathering dust on a shelf in our family room, because this time it just kind of feels like old hat. Even as I stood in the bathroom one afternoon holding the positive test while Owen played at my feet, my reaction was more of a, “Oh! Sweet!” as opposed to the first time, where I jumped on Michael in bed at 7 a.m. and shoved the test in his face. And yet, I’m still excited to feel that first kick because that part never gets old.

The major difference has really been the belly, which made an appearance at five weeks along. I had heard second (and third, etc.) pregnancies show faster since the muscles have already been stretched, but I wasn’t expecting to show so early, especially when we had planned to keep it quiet the standard three months. But no, there it was on full display. I even got outed by a stranger at a toddler birthday party at just eight weeks, which makes me think maybe I should, I don’t know, do a sit up or two (or 1,000) after this one is born.

(9 weeks with Owen vs. 9 weeks with Baby #2)

This pregnancy has also reverted my palate to the tastes of a 10-year old, because while I try not to, I could sustain on chocolate milk, mac and cheese and pizza alone. If it helps, all three of those things that I’ve been buying are organic varieties so…uh…healthy! Yes.

So there you have it, first trimester round two in a nutshell.

Oh yeah, the official due date is July 15th and I would put money on having another boy.

Now, I’m off to eat some pizza.

I love how the stockings look hung by the fireplace.

And I love even more that next year, there will be one more.

This Little Baby #2. Coming in July.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Christmas Gah

Mind if I brain dump all over you guys? No? Ok, good. You guys, how is Christmas on Sunday? As in, THIS Sunday? I’m hosting this year which means I need to cook dinner for seven people and if my holiday party was any indication, I’m going to make too much food, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I don’t want to eat baked ham for two weeks. Also, I only just sent out my Christmas cards today! For the record, I ended up designing my own and printing them out as 4×6 photos at CVS. Sure, they’re not your standard fancy card, but it took many, MANY attempts to get one good picture of Owen smiling so by god, I will send that face to 60 people, Christmas in six days or not.

Child Gah

That face, which is turning 18-months old next week. As in, a year and a half. Say what? That face has also recently started to argue with me, which I thought wasn’t supposed to happen until much later when the subject matter would be something like staying out past curfew or, you know, not wanting to eat his vegetables. Instead, he informs me multiple times a day that the toy rhino is not in fact a rhino, but actually a hippo. He conveys this by shaking his head “no” and shouting “IP-PO!” at me until I concede that FINE. I suppose it KIND OF LOOKS LIKE A HIPPO, but it has horns and also? It’s a rhino. I went to college and everything, kiddo. The same goes for a green brontosaurus on a pair of pajamas that is actually an alligator. Duh, Mama.

And because Owen is a rule follower, he must have sneakily been reading up on sleep regressions and heard that there’s one around 18 months. So guess who hit the nail on the head with that again, right on schedule? It hasn’t been awful. Not like four months (omg), or nine months (omiiiiggggoood), but now he’s taken to waking just once in the middle of the night and crying just long enough for me to wake up — and stay awake — for at least an hour. I don’t like 3 a.m. Never have.

Occasionally, he’s not settled himself, and in those cases I am too lazy tired to stand in his room forever, so I’ve been scooping him up and tucking him in next to me in bed. He settles right in and it’s very sweet and reminiscent of his newborn days. After a little bit I bring him back to his crib, but I can’t say I’ve minded the snuggles all that much.

But still, go away, regression. Mama likes her solid sleep.

I’m Old Gah

In two weeks I turn 29. As in, the last year of my 20s. As in, one year away from 30 (which ok, isn’t THAT scary, but I’m still kind of clinging to the “I’m in my 20s!!!!” thing.) Michael’s been there, done that, when it comes to turning 30, so he’s not all that sympathetic about me only turning 29. My birthday is New Year’s Eve and while I feel like I should get a sitter and toast my last 20th year in style, I can’t imagine what we would do and how it would be any better than cupcakes and bubbly drinks at home with my family. Oh god, I really am getting old. Just kidding! I mean…let’s party! On a rooftop! In December! Without a sweater because woo hoo! We are young and crazy!

(Jeez no, it’s cold. Someone go make me a cup of tea.)

I Am Apparently Five Gah

I was grocery shopping yesterday and inexplicably needed chocolate milk. Like, right that very minute. Which is dumb because I never drink chocolate milk and actually, I was going to go to Starbucks for a chai as soon as I was done. But that chocolate milk was right there on the shelf and I WANTED IT. So I bought it.

And drank the whole thing in the car, despite Owen’s pleas from the back to give him whatever was in that bottle. I gave him water instead, because he is the child and I am the adult and I don’t share my chocolate milk.

GAH.

Our Christmas party was a huge success, and we are determined to do it again next year. So much fun! And the food apparently followed suit, because we had almost nothing left over at the end of the night. I made all of the appetizers myself and found the majority of the recipes on Pinterest. Oh, how I love Pinterest. Of course I was rushing a bit right before the party so the well-meaning photos I meant to take never happened. Never the less, here’s the list and links to recipes:

Southwestern Eggrolls with Avocado Ranch Dipping Sauce – LOVED these and they got rave reviews.

Baked Crab Rangoon – Again, nom. Best if served warm, though, so I ended up popping them back in the oven half-way through the party.

Pizza Dip with Garlic Bread – I’m not going to lie and tell you this is healthy, but it’s SO GOOD.

Mozzarella, tomato and basil skewers – a party twist on the traditional caprese salad.

Eight Layer Dip – you can never have enough layers.

Coconut Shrimp with Pineapple/Lime/Jalapeno dipping sauce – Super easy and super good. The sauce also works well as a salsa.

Parmesan-Herb Chicken Wings – a family friend’s recipe that I received in my recipe box from my bridal shower. I was panicked about not having enough food and made these at the last minute. Good thing, because they were all eaten.

Assorted veggies and dip – a party staple.

For dessert my contribution was mini pumpkin pies, which sadly did not clear out as much as I thought they would? Why? I don’t know! For they are so twee and cute and yum! But whenever a friend asked what they could bring I said dessert (always an easy thing to bring to a party and one less thing I had to make!), and they totally delivered. There were cookies and mini cheesecakes and decadent chocolate cake, so I guess people just gravitated to those. There were a fair amount of desserts left at the end, but I made all guests take a plate home with them, or we’d be eating dessert for weeks.

Despite having a full house, the party had good flow and everyone seemed to have a great time. Yay!

I washed most of the dishes yesterday but was lazy and left some until today. And I guess I wasn’t paying attention when I put my medium Pyrex bowl in the dish drainer, because all of the sudden…SMASH!!!!! It fell into the sink and shattered into a million pieces. I was so upset and it took for.ev.er. to clean up! My Pyrex bowls came with lids so now there’s a sad 2.5 quart lid sitting in the cabinet with no home. Wah, wah.

I had no idea I was so attached to a bowl!

- A few years ago an editor at a well-know women’s magazine contacted me and asked if I would be interested in contributing to an article in their publication. Would I? I was over the moon! How Glamourous! The only caveat was that it wasn’t really guaranteed that my piece would be published. They were reaching out to a few other writers and would pick the piece they liked best.

Turns out the piece they were looking for was a She Said-She Said article on cleavage in the work place. They already had the She who would be writing against it, and were looking for someone to be Pro-cleavage. Only, I’m not pro-cleavage in the work place.

But I tried to be! Because I thought hey, what’s the harm in tweaking my thoughts a little bit if it means getting published. Maybe it will lead to other opportunites.

I didn’t get the job. In the end, while my piece wasn’t bad, it swayed more towards appropriate cleavage in the work place, rather than advocating full boobies on display. Because I just couldn’t bring myself to say that in a national publication. Sure, it’s nothing controversial like politics or religion, or saying I stand for whacking puppies on the head with ice skates, but I still didn’t believe in it. But they weren’t looking for approval of “appropriate” cleavage. They wanted ALL CLEAVAGE ALL THE WAY.

The piece ran a few months later and the girl who got the job either fully stands for breasts on display, or she was able to get past her stance and write a fib. Sometimes I wonder if I should have just done that,  but I think in the end, I wouldn’t want my children — maybe my daughter — to Google me one day and see mommy advocating baring it all at work. So I guess in the end, it’s ok.

- That whole story has nothing to do with anything. I just remembered it before I fell asleep last night.

- I just made the shopping list for ingredients for our holiday party this weekend and…there’s a lot of cheese on it. People like cheese, right? I hope they also like things in egg roll wrappers because I do, and I’m making some delicious things in them. Like Southwestern Egg Rolls. And Homemade Crag Rangoon. NOM. Thanks to all your mouthwatering suggestions, I think we have a pretty good looking menu. I’ll post it next week.

- So…Christmas shopping. Anyone finish theirs yet? Yeah, me neither. I’m hoping to head to Target today to get some odds and ends and stocking stuffers, and I’m crossing my fingers that by going on a weekday afternoon I will save myself some of the headache associated with holiday shopping and crowds. I’m feeling really behind this year and need to get a move on.

- So behind, actually, that I haven’t even looked at Christmas cards yet. I tried to get a good picture of Owen when we went to get our tree, but…I didn’t. At this rate, friends can expect our card sometime around the new year. Anyone know of any good deals on cards right now? I’ve done Shutterfly in the past, but wasn’t really looking to spend $50 on cards.

- I’ve been working really hard on the clutter thing. Yesterday I finally tackled the baskets of random clothes and came over from the move and never got dealt with. Today I’m finding a home for the odds and ends on the dining room table and I think after I do a final straighten and vacuum/mop tomorrow, the house will look pretty good for Sunday’s party. I hope. Friends, don’t judge me if you spot a stray pile or two.

- If you follow me on Twitter, you know I asked Michael for a bread machine for Christmas. I said that 20-year old me is laughing at 28-year old me. Twenty-year old me would have returned it and bought shoes instead. But the response from other women was pretty funny. They told me how they’ve asked for practical items as they got older too — a fancy trash can, a steam mop, a flash light — and how happy they were to receive them.

Ah, growing up. Such a weird phenomenon.

Sometimes being a parent makes me hate the Internet. There’s so much out there to scare you, or tell you you’re a bad parent, or make you feel badly about yourself. But then there’s the times when you find your toddler suddenly running away screaming from the bathroom, and you thank your lucky stars for BabyCenter message boards and lots of other mothers just like you wondering, “WTF, kid. I thought you liked the bath?!”

Owen loved the bath. Loooooved the bath. He would stay in there all day if I let him, splashing around and playing with his toys. Then about a month ago, Michael and I went away for our anniversary weekend and when we returned, Owen started to flip out whenever we put him in the tub. It would start with a little whimpering when I placed him in the water, would progress to crying when I tried to wash his face, and would end in full-blow back arching hysterics when it was time to wash his hair.

I asked my mom and sister if anything had happened in the bath while we were away (soap in the eyes, a slip in the tub) that might have caused this sudden fear, but they said he was happy as a clam when they bathed him.

Huh.

For the past month, every bath as been a fight. I don’t like to see him upset and I’ve tried to make it as fun and exciting as I can, always telling him exactly what I’m washing and showing him how it’s not scary, but nothing has workd Thinking maybe he didn’t like water in his eyes or ears, I’ve tried everything from a washcloth to a cup to my bare hands to wash his hair, but nothing prevents the screams. It’s been a long bath month.

A few nights ago, we reached the peak of his fear. I started to run the tub and he went running the other way SOBBING and crying, “No, Mama! No, Mama!” I caught him, walked him through the getting nakey/getting into the bath routine, but the whole time he cried. And when he touched the water, you would have thought I placed him in molten lava, rather than a lukewarm tub. He trashed and tried to get out and it was just so sad.

Not knowing what else to do, I stripped down and climbed in the tub with him. See, I told him. It’s fine! Mommy is taking a bath too! It’s not scary! But he was too far gone at this point, and even letting him recline against me while I tried to wash his hair did not ease his fears. It was so heartbreaking, but I didn’t want to cry along with him and reinforce his fears.

We got out of the tub, him shaking like a leaf in my arms, and that’s when I turned to the message boards. HELP ME.

Apparently this is kind of common? This sudden fear of the water? At least it was common with the 40 or so commenters that gave me lots of ideas to choose from. A bath is a non-negotiable in my eyes, so the next day I psyched myself up for some crying, and armed with my list of The Bath Is Not Scary ideas, I jumped in.

Literally.

I ran the tub…for me. Owen watched as I tested the water, did some splashing and climbed in. He laughed as I washed my face and when I started to play with the rubber duck, he asked to come in. Together we played. He let me wash his body without a fight. This was progress. I know that one day it won’t be appropriate for him to see me naked, but right now, seeing me take a non-scary bath seemed to be doing the trick.

But there wasn’t a ton of water in the tub and it was many degrees cooler than I would have made it if it were just for me, so soon enough I was cold and wanted out. He remained content playing, and I knew I might be pushing it, but I wanted to try and wash his hair.

But not before one more trick.

I took Michael’s shaving cream – the gel kind – and squirted it into the bath. Look, Owen! It looks like blue wormies! Can you catch them?

He freaking LOVED the blue wormies. He didn’t love me washing his hair, but he didn’t flip out about it quite the same either. All in all, a bath success.

He’s due for another bath today. I’m going to try it soon, actually. I’m not going in with him this time, but I am armed with lots of blue wormies, of course.

Wish us luck!

My house is completely overwhelming me. Let me be honest about something here — I’m a cluttered person. I make piles (of mail, books, and mostly clothes), and available surfaces, be it a kitchen table or a ledge, tend to never stay clean.

It’s something I’m aware of, and I’ve worked hard to get better at it, especially since Michael is the complete and total opposite. But no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to break the clutter habit, no matter how many organization blogs I read or storage totes I purchase. I don’t like this aspect of myself, but I can’t seem to break free from it.

It’s genetic. I’m not blaming my mom here, but there really is no question that I inherited the clutter gene from her. She often complains to me about how she just can’t get it all together and her house is overwhelming her — and I TOTALLY get it. My sister has it too — possibly worse than the rest of us (her bedroom floor is a mine field of laundry. Thankfully I’m not that bad!) and I’m starting to worry I will pass it on to Owen.

Like I said, Michael is the opposite. He is so neat. His closet is immaculate. When I met him back in college he was living in the tiniest room I’ve ever seen and everything had a place. So specific a place, that he would notice immediately if something was in the wrong spot.

He has been so patient with my clutter and while he does eventually snap (there’s been more than one occasion where I’ve found my piles dumped squarely in the middle of our bed. Basically, deal with it now, or don’t go to sleep), he loves me despite the fact that I just can’t get it together.

Our house isn’t gross or anything. I’m not a hoarder and having a dog like Kodiak means the vacuum comes out multiple times a week. But I just can’t get a grip on the clutter.

HELP ME.

Are you organized? How do you do it? Where do I start? I have a small goal: we are hosting a holiday party in just nine short days and I’d really like to feel in control of the mess. I know everyone says do a little at a time, but as soon as I start I just want to stop again and curl up into a ball of denial.

Michael is reaching his breaking point again; I can feel it. I might be sleeping on top of Clutter Mountain next week if I don’t get my act together.

Please, please, please share your organizational tips with me. I’m begging you!

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