Sunday, December 23, 2012

...Tastiness - Spinach and Bacon Quiche

We're getting together with friends later today for brunch.  At 4:00.  Because B works nights and our friends are always happy to adjust plans so he can join us.  So, I whipped up some tasty quiches for us to enjoy.

This is a recipe I found when I did a brunch for H's 3rd birthday party - one week before L was born.  I needed something easy and delicious.

The things I love most about quiche:
          1 - It looks fancy.
          2 - They're relatively easy to make.
          3 - You can serve quiche hot, cold, or at room temperature, which makes it a perfect dish
               to take somewhere.

Unfortunately, I don't remember exactly where I found the recipe, so I can't give credit.  The quiche was a hit at the party then, and I hope it will be enjoyed today, too.

This is my first recipe post.  I hope to do more - especially this summer once we start receiving our CSA boxes.  I'm looking forward to trying new things with the veggies we get.  Anyway...I digress.  The quiche.

Bake the pie crusts for about 15 minutes @375

Fry the bacon.  Try to keep your hands from sneaking in and snacking.
I really just love bacon.

Drain all but about a tablespoon of bacon grease.
It sucks pouring hot things down the drain.  So do what I did. Hurry up and drink a can of beer.
Pour the grease into the empty.  That's right.  A can.
A can of Coors Banquet, in fact.  We're classy.
Saute the onions until translucent, then add the spinach.

Mix it with the bacon and put it in the pie.
See the can of Banquet bacon grease in the background?  Classy.

Grate some swiss cheese.  Do it.  Don't buy it already grated. That's powdery and gross. 

Sprinkle some swiss on the pies.

Mix this stuff.

Ladle the mixture slowly over the goodness already in the crust.
Top with more cheese.
I forgot to take a picture of that part.  It's my first time!

Bake it.
You might have noticed that there are 2 quiches pictured here.  That's because I made 2, duh.  I just doubled the recipe.  These do freeze really well (in a foil pie pan, of course), so if you're making one, you might as well go ahead and save yourself some time in the future and throw one in your freezer for later.  I'm taking both to our gathering today.  Now I wish I'd have made 3.

Here's the real recipe:

Spinach and Bacon Quiche

  • 9 inch pre-made pie shell
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded swiss cheese
  • 6 to 8 ounces spinach leaves, roughly chopped
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups half-and-half
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

  1. Pre-bake that pie shell.  I threw mine in the preheated 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes.
  2. Cut the bacon into little pieces and cook it in a large skillet until it's pretty crispy.  Transfer it to a paper towel covered plate.
  3. Drain all but about a tablespoon or so of bacon grease.  Add the onions to the grease and saute until translucent - about 8 minutes.
  4. Add the spinach to the skillet, and let wilt, stirring often.  This only takes a minute or two.  Toss the bacon back in with the veggies, then transfer the mixture into your pie shell.
  5. Spread 1/2 the cheese on the bacon-y goodness.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk the 3 eggs.  Add the half-and-half, mustard, salt and pepper, and whisk well.
  7. Slowly ladle the egg mixture onto the now cheesy, bacon-y goodness.  
  8. Top with the rest of the cheese.
  9. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes.
  10. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.  Serve warm, cold, or at room temperature.
Note:  You could easily make this without the bacon by just using a little olive oil to saute the spinach and onion.  But why would anyone omit bacon?  

Thursday, December 20, 2012

...Another Holiday Tradition

Santa Cookies

When my mom was growing up, her mom, Grandma Dorma, made Santa cookies.  It was a thing.  A big thing.  I don't remember the exact number or quite how the story goes, but when my Uncle Larry (who is not my uncle, but rather my mom's 1st cousin) and Grandma's bff Gertrude's son, Bob, were in Vietnam, Grandma made something insane like 82 dozen Santa cookies.  (This could be an unbelievably extreme exaggeration.  Sue me.  I can't remember what I did yesterday, let alone exactly how the story goes.  I just know it was an UNGODLY amount of cookies.)  They're no joke.  Roll-out sugar cookies (with lemon extract because frankly, we're lemon people) with chocolate chip eyes, a red hot mouth, and a coconut beard.  Back in the day, Grandma used to make a powdered sugar and milk frosting.  Then, after they had cooled and the frosting had hardened a bit, each cookie was individually wrapped in a fold-down top sandwich baggie.

Well, my mom (together with my grandma as long as she was able) continued this tradition with us growing up.  Grandma gave her "The" Santa cookie cutter.  I remember waiting at the end of the counter for the dough scraps to make my own cookies in the toaster oven that were covered in red hots and chocolate chips.  I made some pretty great cookie worms back in the day.  I also distinctly recall severe stomachaches from stuffing my face with as many chocolate chips and as much raw cookie dough as I could handle.  

One year, after she learned about the power of the Internet probably in 2001 or so, my mom found the original manufacturer of said cutter.  And they were going out of business.  Or maybe she was just feeling nostalgic.  Whatever.  So my mom bought a set for me and for each of my 3 female cousins so we are able to continue the tradition with our own children.  
Disregard dinner cooking in the background.
For a few years, I made them religiously.  And then I had kids.  Wasn't the point to do this with my children?  Yeah.  Well.  Maybe when they're older.  Luckily, my mom still makes them every year.  And every year, my brothers and I each receive a box of them in the mail.  And the boys get party mix, too.  This is a point of contention.  But she claims she doesn't send me party mix because she sees me.  I don't understand how this logic works.  
Yesterday, after H ate his lunch, B told him he could have a Santa cookie from Grana.  H was concerned that we wouldn't have enough to leave for Santa.  (Yep, another tradition.  A Santa cookie for Santa.)  After he made sure Santa would, in fact, be getting a Santa cookie, H set to work eating his cookie.  Then he started cracking up.  B asked him what was so funny.  

I don't like coconut, so mom sends ours with extra frosting for the beard. 
"Dad.  Santa's going to look at these cookies and say 'Hey! That's my face!'  He's really going to love coming to our house."  Yeah he will, H.  He sure will.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

...Some Favorite Traditions

"It's the holiday season...the holiday season...and doo doo doo... Santa Claus and uh-something something..."  The most wonderful time of the year?  Usually.  This year has felt a little strange without much cold weather and snow, but we're surviving and keeping up with our favorite holiday traditions.

I love Christmas Cards.  

Nowadays (is that really a word?) it seems that this is the only time of the year that I look forward to opening our mailbox.  H and L really love looking at their friends and family hanging in the doorway across from the dinner table.  It's amazing the kinds of discussions seeing the cards daily has sparked.

And this is light compared to most years! But I suppose it's still early.
Disregard the messy kitchen in the background.

Ugly Ornament Exchange

So this is a tradition I enjoy with one of my favorite groups of girls.  What seems like a lifetime ago, I worked in the world's gitchy-est Italian restaurant, where I met a group of ladies that have become a very important part of my life.  We set a yearly schedule of dates to get together once a month.  And there is never a sober girl left at the end of the outing dull moment.  Our December outing each year involves an ugly ornament exchange.  There's a lot of pressure to find just the perfect bauble for someone else to be embarrassed to hang on their tree.  But we were once again all successful.

The lovely gem I received from Kelly.
This ornament has it all: a monochromatic hummingbird suckling the gaudy flower, with a nipple stem on the back 
What I wore for girls' night - I could really use a better place to take outfit photos
Sweater: Loft, Jeans: Express, Shoes: Madden, Necklace: gift from Anne
Near Photobomb by naked H

Christkindlemarkt, Chicago

This tradition is one that B and I started when we were dating, and it is the one that we hope to continue for years to come with our kids.  Now, it is rumored that B and I are fans of German food and beer.  We try to eat said German food (read stuff our faces with schnitzels and sausages, potatoes and pretzels, and boot after boot of beer) as regularly as possible.  (This explains some of the whiny "I need to lose weight" posts.)  And we've made it a mission to raise our children to appreciate this delicious cuisine, as well.  

Each year at the Christkindlemarkt, we stuff our faces, drink Gluhwine, and add a new ornament to our collection. 
Our first Christkindlemarkt purchase in 2003: the Santa that tops our tree 
H goes to town on his own bratwurst (no hot dog this year!) with a side of potato pancakes 

Santaland at Macy's

I'm going to begin this part of the post by stating that I am NOT a fan of Macy's.  There. I said it. I loved Marshall Fields, and I just feel that Macy's is a major step down from my beloved Fields.  Their customer service is lacking, and is it really that hard to clean a washroom?  Okay.  I had to get that out of the way.

Part of our Christkindlemarkt tradition used to be to walk to the Marshall Fields on State Street to check out the windows.  Each year, the artists at Marshall Fields would tell a different story or fairy tale in their window displays as you walked from the north end of the block toward the south.  This is another wonderful aspect of Marshall Fields that vanished.  Sure, they still decorate the windows.  But it's just NOT the same.  And some traditions are hard to break, and so we still walk the windows at Macy's even though B and I know that we're bound to be disappointed.

It's now worth it because I must say that the Macy's on State Street does Santa well.  As you wind your way past the toy department (well played, marketing department) and through the children's department (another nice move), you end up in Santaland.  There's a lot of cuteness to keep the kiddos entertained while waiting to see the big man: snowmen singing ("Mom! Frosty didn't have a carrot nose! Who is this snowman?"), animals hibernating in a house that dance when you push a button, a telescope to see Santa, and so much more.  Unfortunately, Santaland doesn't come with a guarantee that your kid won't freak out upon laying eyes on the big man, himself.
Luckily H was composed enough to tell Santa what both of them want for Christmas. 
And the tree in the Walnut Room is always beautiful.
L and H - mesmerized
My favorites by the tree
Thanks for dressing up today, B!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

...4 Useful Limbs

This was not the post I was thinking of this morning when I took this picture.  I imagined coming home from work and incorporating this photo into a "Getting Dressed: Casual Thursday" kind of a post.  But I'm pretty stoked to not just be writing about what I wore to work today.
Striped top: Target, Chambray shirt: Old Navy,
Green skinnies: Limited, Boots: really old and I don't remember.
Note: There are no crutches featured in this photo!
That's right.  I'm back - all ambulatory again.  Like, I can use my arms independently from my legs.  I can carry things (like my favorite li'l lady).  Finally!  The last 400,000 nearly 4 weeks have been a little rough.  I'm not going to lie, for the first two weeks, I really didn't mind hanging out on the couch, as I was in a lot of pain and standing up at all was pretty painful and difficult.  But then it just got annoying.  Watching B do EVERYTHING around the house made me feel awful, as I just wanted to help.  I never thought I'd say that having someone wait on me would get old.

So...tonight I was able to actually make dinner for my family - something I haven't done in almost a month.  And it felt pretty good.  It helped that I had a sous chef this evening, too.

H sauteing the onions.
His first time using the stove.  Don't worry.  I was right there. 

H adding the cabbage while I stirred.
Working with H in the kitchen makes me even more excited for the fact that we just signed up for a CSA for the summer.  More about that later.  I think I'll walk around a bit.  Because I can.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

...Wedded Bliss

9 Looooooong Amazing, Bliss-Filled Years
And I wouldn't change a minute of it.  

Wedding day:  November 29, 2003
9 Years Later:  October 2012
That's probably a lie.  There are a few things that I would change.  But they're pretty minor and therefore, no big deal.

Our story is a fairy tale romance like so many others.  Boy works in the Starbucks in Barnes and Noble.  Girl gets job at said bookseller and thinks boy is cute.  Boy and girl spend endless hours together brewing coffee for med students and guys who not so secretly take "erotica" books into public washroom, and then cleaning up said washroom when toilets overflow.  Not the most glamourous job.  I digress.  But this fairy tale ends happily.

After nearly four years of dating, we made it official.  After a romantic dinner at none other than the fabulous Benihana, he sat next to me on the couch and said, "Well, Babe.  What do you think?"  After informing him that he would have to actually specify what he was talking about (you see, I had taken the LSAT that day and had that amateur lawyer brain going on), he asked me to marry him.  So I said yes.  Of course.  And tried not to turn into a Bridezilla.  But I might have been.  Since I didn't even know the only 2 people who read this when we got married, no one will even comment to let me know if this is true.  So I'll say that I wasn't one.

I forgot my vows.  On our wedding day.  It was my brilliant idea for us to memorize them, so we could just look into each others' eyes and profess our love.  (22 is such an idealistic age)  When it was his turn, he spoke his vows to me in a loud, clear, sure voice.  And I loved the moment so much.  Still do.  Then it was my turn.  And I just stared at him, smiling - then laughing.  And as I would find out, he began the pattern of picking me up and carrying me through the moments I couldn't handle on my own.

It's pretty amazing.  I really thought I loved him on that day 9 years ago.  I thought that it couldn't get much better than that.  My heart was so full.  And I've never been so thrilled to be so wrong.  We've grown so much over the last 9 years, as individuals, as friends, as partners, and now as a family.

The second time I thought I couldn't love him any more - June 2008 

Well, he did it again - June 2011

I can't help but look forward to what the future holds.  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

...Getting Dressed - Parent/Teacher Conference Style

So many of my favorite bloggers (and besties) do Outfit of the Day posts, and I always think:

"I could never pull that off!"
(Ashli always looks cute - and check out her great recipes, too)

"What a great way to put those together!"
(Check out what Anne is doing with her green Boden skirt.  So stylish!)

And so on and so forth.

So I decided to try my very own OOTD post:  Getting Dressed.

Take 1: Parent-Teacher Conference style...

Top - LOFT, Pants - Limited, Shoes - Target,
Necklace - gift from Anne, Crutches - EMH ER
Next time I'll clean my room so I can use a mirror that doesn't have H's drawings taped to it.  Maybe.

Monday, November 19, 2012

NOT Obsessing

It's not a secret that my weight is one of my obsessions.  I've blogged about it a bit.  I talk about it a bit. And I think about it pretty much all the time.  My weight has fluctuated my whole life, and I can't ever think of a time when I've felt good about how I look.  Sure, I look AMAZING in a bridesmaid dress with my hair, nails, and lashes did (see here).  But for me it's not about how I look, but how I really feel about me.

After we got married (almost 9 years ago!), I suffered from a case of the happy fat.  Cooking for the hubs, who LOVES to eat well, was one of my favorite past times, and I seemed to lose sight of the fact that eating the same amount of a 6'5", 220 lb guy wouldn't bode well on my 5'4" frame.

Enter Weight Watchers.  I did so well sticking to the program for about 6 months.  And then I quit my law firm job, went back to school to get my teaching certificate and Masters, and started working in an Italian restaurant.  And the weight went back up.

New Years '06 or '07 (can't remember)
Check out my sweet 80s Prom date, Walter
And then the best thing that could ever happen to a weight-obsessed fat girl happened:  I got pregnant.  I did not once consider that every bite I put in my mouth was not just feeding this child, but was also sticking to my thighs, as well.  

36.5 weeks pregnant with H.  Yikes.
64 pounds and 41 weeks later, H was born.  And the obsession began again.  What's ridiculous is that while I obsess about this, I tend to be a bit lazy.  My motivation waxes and wanes, and I generally prefer a delicious meal and cocktails with friends to waking up early and exercising.  I never reached my pre-pregnancy weight - but was only 2 pounds away when I got pregnant again.  Note: It was 2 years later.  This time I did much better and only gained around 45 pounds.
39 weeks - L's birthday
Thanks scheduled c-section for letting me do my hair and make-up before heading to the hospital
It's been 17 months.  I've been working pretty hard - trying to find a balance between delicious food, cocktails, and exercise.  Running is something that I was really beginning to enjoy - especially when I can join my girls.  A few weeks ago, I hit my pre-pregnancy weight with H.  But I wasn't happy with how I looked then, and things are a lot different now.  Funny what those kids do to your body.  
H & L Side-by-Side All the Time
Reminding me that all of this is SOOO unbelievably worth it
And now, I can't exercise.  Or even weigh myself thanks to our fancy scale with the foot sensors.  And I'm trying not to panic.  My brain is full of what-ifs concerning my weight.  So I started planning a fast.  And a cleanse.  And then I remembered that this is not a permanent thing.  I'll bounce back.  Thanksgiving is my favorite.  I need to not worry.  Or go nuts.  Finding a balance won't be easy, but it will all be okay.  Maybe I should be thinking about other things right now.  Like maybe the parent-teacher conferences I'm going to run all day today and tomorrow.  Maybe I should be more concerned with the more important things?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Blogging Again??

Basically, I'm the worst blogger ever.  Life is busy, and I make excuses.  But if you've read any of what I've ever written, you already know that to be the case.  I've been spending a lot of time sitting on the couch lately, and it's killing me.  So while I'm unable to be productive for my family, I might as well get some blogging done.  I'm hoping this will take my mind off of feeling sorry for myself.

In October, the hubs and I went on a trip to North Carolina for his cousin's wedding.  Having never been there before, I was so excited to make the trip.  That - and I was looking forward to spending time with just B and his brother and sister-in-law.  The trip did not disappoint.  Not only was it an amazing time, but Boone and the surrounding area in mid October was just breathtakingly beautiful.

Beautiful Boone, NC

with B

The best Sister-in-Law a girl could ask for

While doing my thang on the dance floor, I pulled a muscle in calf - or so I thought.  It hurt, but I wasn't about to let a little soreness get in the way of my dance party, so I danced on.  It hurt for a few days.

The following weekend, I went for a run with two of my besties - also known as Team Awesome.  It was a personal distance record for all three of us - 6 miles.  This is a giant accomplishment for me because I'm not really a runner.  More about that later.  Maybe.  They were amazing and helped this mom out by coming to the burbs to run the forest preserve, even though they're both city girls.

Team Awesome at the Lung Run
I don't have a pic of us from this particular day.

It felt amazing.  We didn't listen to music.  We just talked.  About everything under the sun.  3 miles were done in no time and then we turned around and headed back.  At about mile 4, my calf really started bothering me again.  Weirdly, it hurt worse when I walked than when I ran, so I pushed on.  On the girls' advice, I bought some tiger balm (less stinky than bengay or icy hot), iced it, and after a day or two I was fine.

And then came a school assembly.  It wasn't a good one.  But at one point the speakers called out the teachers to get up and dance.  So, I did.  And the kids loved it.  And my calf popped again.

Knowing that I had purchased super cute 3 1/2 inch heels for Anne's wedding just 10 days away, I gave away my bib for the Hot Chocolate 5K.  This was such a hard decision to make.  I knew if I pushed it and tried to run, that I could hurt myself, and standing up in Anne's wedding was WAY more important to me than running next to her in a race - which she totally rocked.  So I responsibly let myself heal.

And then came the wedding.  This could be another post entirely.
With my favorite groomsman before the ceremony

Selfie with the beautiful bride

Everything went off without a hitch.  The bride was gorgeous (obviously ^^), and the groom was sharp as can be.  The ceremony was meaningful and lovely.  Toledo made a surprisingly cool back drop for wedding photos.  The food at the reception was delicious - can you say bacon-wrapped shrimp - and then the dancing began.

The cutest of all the dancers

Middle school dancin' with the groom

And then it happened again - not while performing the sweet moves with the groom, above.  But this time, I was unable to walk at all and in major pain.  The good news is that there were vodka sodas and Yeungling (a delicacy to us Chicagoans) for medication.

The wheelchair obviously didn't get me down
When we got home, B took me to the ER.  They said I had torn a calf muscle, and that I should stay off of it completely for 2 days then start bearing weight again.  If it wasn't better in a week, I should see an orthopedic surgeon.  Alright.  2 days later, I was still unable to bear weight and was in just as much, if not more pain than before.  So I called the orthopedic doc.  For some reason, in my head I thought that I would go in and see him and he'd fit me for a boot of some kind that would make me able to walk again.  Well, that did not happen.  No such magic boot exists.  It is not a muscle tear.  My plantaris tendon is torn.  I have to stay completely off of my leg (not that that's an issue because I still can't be on it anyway) for another 2-3 weeks.  After that, I'll be able to start attempting to walk - but still with crutches.  Then I'll downgrade to walking with one crutch - Tiny Tim style.  The whole reparation process can take 3-6 months.  Sweet.

And this is where I begin to feel sorry for myself.  But not really.  I'm really feeling more sorry for B.  He's already an incredible husband, and I'm not just saying that because he more than likely won't read this anyway.  The man does more than most around the house.  We're a perfect team and have a routine down around here that allows us to be 2 working parents who get it all done and still spend time with the kids and alone.  Now, he's stuck doing everything.  Including taking care of me.

Luckily we have the best friends anyone could ask for who have already helped so much with the kids and meals and grocery shopping.  My sister-in-law is taking over Thanksgiving hosting duties.  These are all things that I do because I WANT to.  Not because I have to.  It's really just hard knowing that I'm unable to do these things and care for my own kids by myself.  This is where my pity party needs to end.  I have to remember that this is not the end of the world.  In the grand scheme of things, there are so many worse things that could be happening in our lives.  Six months from now, I'll look back on these things and laugh.

And when I think about it, if I had it to do all over again, I'd have danced anyway.  It's those moments that truly matter.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

...Cooking for the First Family

The first family of Westchester, that is.

After a day spent at the pediatrician's office for L's 12 month (already?!) check-up, lunch with friends followed by a 93 degree trip to the park, and some time in the backyard baby pool, I could think of nothing better to do for my family than cook them a delicious, healthy(ish) dinner.  So, since it's blazing outside, the best meal I could think of involved turning on my oven and heating up the shoebox  house.

Because I had a box of lasagna noodles in the pantry, and said box was driving me crazy with how much space it takes up, I decided to make a crock pot lasagna recipe that I had made once before and liked.  It had fit my main meal criteria: easy, delicious, healthy enough to make me think I can stuff my face with it.  I turned to my dear friend, Pinterest, to get the recipe off of my "Eat It. Drink It. Love It." board, and it had been removed or taken down for inappropriate content.  Inappropriate?!  Lasagna?!  Never!  I thought the gods of Pinterest hated me.  But I persevered, determined to use those noodles and regain the corner space of the second shelf.  I googled "Turkey Lasagna", and got this recipe.  I thought, "If it's good enough for the first family, it's good enough for mine, darn it."

I made some changes because obviously I'm a better cook than the White House chef, and I even used basil from our garden, which H thought was pretty cool.  And I realized that we didn't have any shredded mozzarella, or any cheese that wasn't individually wrapped sticks for that matter, so I omitted that step altogether.  It was probably better for us anyway and still tasted delicious.  I think the Obamas would have liked it.  3 out of 4 members of my family did.  The other held another (almost record) sit in at the table, choosing to go to bed early rather than eat one bite of the turkey (which he actually loves).  I wonder where he gets that strong will?  That's another post.

I wish I had taken a picture because it really was quite beautiful.  And delicious.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

...Not Quitting...Yet

So I have a lot more pictures to post - and by a lot, I mean 8 more.  They take a long time for me to add because most of them are on my phone, and I'm a bit technologically challenged.  And free-time challenged.  And frankly, motivationally challenged.  But at least I'm blogging?  Or rambling, as usual.

And thinking about weight loss.  It's always on my mind, but especially right now.  Sometimes I worry that I will pass my self-image issues onto L.  I remember going on walks with my mom when I was younger.  These issues definitely are rooted in the early parts of my life, for sure.  **I am not blaming my mother for my love handles.  My favorite diet that my parents did when I was in high school was (I think) called the Mayo Clinic diet.  Basically, while they were doing that, we would go to our friendly small town greasy spoon and eat fried chicken until our heart's content.  You see, we could eat as much as we wanted **as long as we had a glass of grapefruit juice before the meal.  Yeah.  I think they missed the boat on that one.  I wonder why it didn't work.  I digress.

Today was just one of those days.  It's like there was something in the air.  The outfit I planned on wearing today (you know, that visualizing you do while in the shower to try to make the rest of the process go more smoothly.  No?  Just me?  Figures.) ended up making me look like I was crammed into a sausage casing.  Not okay.  I ended up bouncing out of it, and I found something more suitable to wear that included the pants I had already ironed for outfit #1.  Bonus.  Then I was stuck behind every slow moving vehicle in the western suburbs on my way to work.  We were out of coffee at home (oops. my fault), so I drove through DD to get a cup.  Days like this definitely require a boost.  It took 9 minutes.  9.  For one cup of coffee.  Are you freaking kidding me?  Everything at work was fine.  Until I walked past a display case, saw my reflection, and realized my (better) outfit made me look about 6 months pregnant.  Sweet.  My teammate dutifully told me that it didn't, but I'm still not convinced.

I totally took last week off.  From exercising.  From caring.  From watching what I was putting in my mouth.  Not true.  I watched every last decadent bite go in.  Teacher Appreciation Week can destroy good intentions.  As can a birthday and all the celebrating that goes with it.  Communion dinners.  Cocktails.  Cinco de Mayo.  Cocktails.  Chocolate Fest.  Cocktails.  Sushi feasts twice.  Cocktails.  Fast food dinners justified by a busy schedule.  Cocktails.  Biscuits and Gravy to recover from said cocktails.  And cocktails.  But this week I'm back.  Or as one of my girls told me - back on track until next Friday when we celebrate again.

I guess there are worse reasons to get off track.  Feeling loved and having lots of friends to celebrate with just might be worth it.  I mean, wouldn't I rather be chubby and surrounded by amazing people than skinny and alone?  And I'm back to justifying pretty much anything.  Funny.  I bet I could have at least posted 1 picture in the time it took me to type this ramble.  Such is.

Monday, May 7, 2012


When I turned the calendar to May, it really made me think about the past year and the amazing path I've been on.  One year ago, my 30th birthday was approaching, and I was saying goodbye to my twenties, doing a dreadful daily commute to get to a job I absolutely loved, and was full of fear and excitement as I was 6 weeks away from meeting my favorite girl in the world.  I knew things were going to change, but not this much!  I've got the new job/two kids/living the life I love thing down.

So it's May.  I'm about to turn 31, and am still working on a lot.  Right now my focus is on my inability to commit.  Wow.  Hmmm...Rephrase.  My focus is on my inability to stick with things/projects that I've started.  For example, the 30 Day Shred.  I LOVE this Jillian Michaels DVD.  I WANT to lose this baby weight - and then some.  I LOVE the feeling of accomplishment after the workout is over.  I even like being sore, as it makes me know that something's working in there.  Unfortunately, I'm so GOOD at making every excuse in the book for why I shouldn't spend the time to do the workout.  Or any workout, for that matter.  Bit as it is, I'm doing so well.  I'm only 4 pounds from my pre-L weight, and only 6 pounds from my pre-H weight.  I'll get there.  Eventually.

Since I'm aware of this tendency I have to quit, I decided to start a new project.  I saw a photo-a-day pin on Pinterest the other day, and decided to give it a shot.  I thought it would give me an outlet.  Something for me that isn't obsessing over myself, worrying about work, or focusing on my kids.  I'm finding that it's not turning out that way.  In fact, just the last 7 pictures are making me realize that these are exactly the things that my photos are focusing on.  Because they're what really matter to me.

So here are the first 7 days.

5.1  Peace - I can't think of anything more peaceful than a beautiful sleeping baby

5.2  Skyline - So it's not "the" skyline, but it's looking out my back door

5.3 Something I wore today - In an effort to feel better and be better...
5.4 Fun - A gorgeous evening at the park
5.5 Bird - There's nothing angry about this bird
5.6 Me - A little time out for me
5.7 Someone That Inspires You - I can't think of a more inspirational scene.
Family dinner.  L's first spaghetti and meatballs. 
Only 24 to go.  Commitment to be determined.

Monday, January 23, 2012

...A Stressed Out Mess

I have a little bit of everything on my mind.  Not true.  I have a lot of some things and a little bit of pretty much everything else imaginable going on in here.  When I first entertained the idea of blogging, I wanted it to be something I did for me.  An outlet for ideas and other things going on in life.  I did not want it to be a place for me to talk about my kids and how cute they are (blah blah blah).  Unfortunately (for the 2 of you who may be reading this), they are my entire world and I don't have very many thoughts that don't involve them.  And they are, of course, the "things" that are weighing most heavily on my mind right now.

Stress has never really been something I've handled well.  At all.  I can usually pull of a pretty decent nonchalant facade, and there's even a woman I work with who told me she wishes she could be as laid back as I am.  I try not to get too worked up - especially over things so completely out of my control - but it's just impossible sometimes.  For the last month, we've had this coming Thursday looming over our heads.  Our 7 month old is having surgery - a fairly minor procedure, a one and done kind of deal, but it needs to be done immediately.  I'm just so unbelievably anxious about her being under anesthesia for the 3 hour procedure.  I've tried focusing on the bright side.  Once it's done, it's done.  There's not a better place for her to be having the procedure or a better doctor to be performing it.  There are so many babies and their families who are going through and have been through so much more.  But the anxiety over this procedure causes me to just freeze sometimes. I can't think past of anything else.  My heart is racing and my eyes constantly have tears at the ready.

To add to the stress of L's surgery, both kids are sick.  It's never fun to have sick kiddos.  L's on Day 8 of her first antibiotics for an ear infection and a nasal spray.  Nothing really gets her down, so she's not your normal sick baby.  H goes all typical male, speaking in only whines and this time he's barking.  That's not his fault, though.  I've yet to experience anything in parenting that makes me feel as helpless as the croup.  There's nothing we can do to help him breathe easier.  Sitting in steam for 10 minutes or so every hour throughout the night.  Modeling long slow breaths.  Nothing works.  He's so terrified looking into my eyes trying to understand why he can't breathe.  So now he's on a steroid, and we're hoping that works.  Really, I'm just hoping he sleeps tonight.

So those are the big things.  The ones that really matter.  Everything else is just gravy.  Icing.  Sprinkles. Whatever.  I don't want to sound like I'm complaining.  I'm so grateful to have these two amazing kiddos and their dad who makes everything that I am and have possible.  All of this worry is totally worth all the  happiness they bring.  I think the new Muppet movie said it best when "Gary" played by Jason Segel (totally my celebrity crush, btw) sings "I've got everything that I need right in front of me."  I can't help but smile when I hear the song, and I can't help but sing it in my head - and sometimes out loud - when I look around my house.