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2013: The Year That Was

27 Jan

(I thought this would be fun, and I’m impressed I did it before March)

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

Flew cross-country with 3 kids under 2.  Spent the night in a children’s hospital.  Raised a baby.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I guess, technically, I did keep a resolution, since my #1 resolution is always to lose weight, and I did lose some weight.  Maybe it wasn’t “enough,” but it was something.  I’ll make more, the same ones: eat less, run more.  Oh, and secure my passwords.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My BFF’s cousin had a beautiful baby boy in December, just in time for Christmas.  I haven’t met him in person yet, but I can’t wait to sniff his little head.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes.  It was a rough year for both our families.  J’s Grammy died in January, and my Nana died exactly 6 months later.  They were both very sick, but it was still a very sad year.  We’re just glad Emilia got to briefly know them.

5. What countries did you visit?

USA!  USA!

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

More doing, less thinking.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

August 10, the day we left for vacation.  I looked forward to it all year.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Surviving January.  My first full month back at work with a newborn, a sick newborn at that, plus J’s Grammy’s death and funeral, and my own sicknesses.  I never thought it would end.  Secondly, shooting myself with blood thinner 2x a day for a month.  And lastly, NaBloPoMo.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not spending more one on one time with J.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Minor illness, relatively speaking.  But I had: what may have been pneumonia, a sinus infection, a blood clot, and pink eye.  Good times.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

The Invisible Fence for Baxter.  Total lifesaver.  Best money I could have spent.

12. Where did most of your money go?

My mortgage and daycare.  Dog treats and crackers followed a close second.

13. What did you get really excited about?

Emilia walking.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? happier
– thinner or fatter? thinner
– richer or poorer? richer

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Spent more time outside.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Spent less time on my phone.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

Christmas Eve day at John’s Grammy’s.  A pink cozy truck and lots of green frosting:

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Christmas Eve at John’s Bumpa’s.  Bad Chinese food and Little People selfies:

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Christmas morning at home.  Banana bread and too many toys:

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Christmas Day with my family.  Lots of food and a possessed Tickle Me Elmo:

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Most importantly, family:

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19. What was your favorite TV program?

The Walking Dead.  (I want to say How I Met Your Mother, but dear Lord is that awful this season).

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

How embarrassing is it that I don’t think I finished a book this year, unless you count 95 readings of the “A” book (Aligator.  Apple.  Avocado).  I tried to read The American Heiress for months and finally gave up.  (I’ve already finished Divergent and I’m halfway through Insurgent since January 1 though, so next year will be better).

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

Vampire Weekend.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

Les Miserables.  (Was that this year?)

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 35.  I worked during the day, and at night Emilia slept at my parents and J & I went out to eat.  I got a “Mom” Alex and Ani bracelet from Emilia, and PJs from J.  Great day.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Leaving my job.  But, hey, done for 2014!

25. What kept you sane?

J.  He has a way of grounding me when I get out there.

27. Share a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.

You can’t hold an infant too much.  One day they’ll suddenly not want to be held anymore and you’ll kick yourself for ever putting her down.

There was More Than one Lobster Present at the Birth of Jesus

11 Nov

If you had to be trapped inside a movie for 5 days, which movie would you pick?

Love, Actually.

Man, I love this movie.  It’s just so sweet, all of it.  And it has something for everyone.  Whether you’re a widower trying to get through the holidays, anyone yearning for a co-worker, a gay man in love with his rock star best friend, or even a stand in body double for a porno, you can relate to someone in the movie.

The first time I saw it, I didn’t even think of it as a Christmas movie.  I know it technically is, but Christmas is just the background to me, the stories overshadow the holiday-ness of it.  It’s obviously a very important theme, because if you really love Christmas, come on and let it snow.  And obviously the octopus that was oh so important at the birth of baby Jesus plays such an important role (8 legs, David).

The movie has everything: Good advice (Don’t buy drugs. Become a pop star, and they give you them for free), dance lessons (only applies to the song “Jump”), Mr Bean, the best Christmas song ever (“All I Want for Christmas is You”), and fake, fully clothed sex.

What I love about this movie (aside from the humor, the scenery and the music) is the idea that everyone can find love.  You can walk in on your brother sleeping with your wife and still marry the housekeeper who doesn’t even speak your language.  You can have a depressed brother who calls you a million times a day and still at least make out with Karl, the enigmatic chief designer.  You can swear in front of your Prime Minister boss on day one and still kiss him on stage in front of the whole town (even if you are the chubby girl from the dodgy end of town).  There are plenty of sad moments too, Karen and Joni kill me every time, and Mark with the signs, oy.  But the end, with the hugging at the airport, and Colin, god of sex, with the Americans, and the happiness and all the love, it’s just exactly where I’d want to be.

I’d stay trapped in this movie for five days, simply because it makes me remember that love actually is all around.

Baxter

29 Dec

Meet Baxter.  Also known as: Beastie, Poochie, Little Weezy, Baxtie Boo and The Devil Dog.  Answers to none of those names, pretty much ignores whatever we say to him.  Most commonly called “No!”

Favorite pastimes: chewing toes, biting noses, stealing towels, collecting dust bunnies under the bed.

Talents: peeing in the house, chewing on the tree, unfazed by bitter spray, being adorable when sleeping.

We got Baxter from a friend of a friend whose neighbor found him and his brothers in a box in a ditch in VA.  Baxter was able to hitch a ride up to MA with his brother, Milo, and we picked him up the Sunday before Christmas.  I tried to surprise J with him, but logistics were tough, and I told him the night before we went to pick him up.  In retrospect, I would have never been able to drive an hour with a squirmy whiney puppy and not crash the car, and I think J was beginning to think I was cheating on him, so it was good I told him.

Remember my Kids vs. Pets posts (here and here)?  I obviously don’t have first-hand experience in which is harder, but, man, this pup is a lot of work.  We’re on him like white on rice, 24/7.  I have to remind myself that he’s just a baby, but, as far as I know, 2 month olds don’t try to steal your towel while you’re still using it.  I think he has an attitude, too.  We’re trying to give him his approved chew toys when he starts gnawing on something he shouldn’t, but he’s not interested.  In fact, he carries the toy to whatever he shouldn’t be chewing, and starts on that.  And, for a ten pound pup, he has quite the grip.  It took J 10 minutes to dislodge his collar from behind his razor sharp puppy teeth the other day.  He also does this thing where he’s 5 feet away from you and opens and shuts his mouth like he’s trying to bite you even though you’re not near him.  As in, “hey, come closer, my 8 teeth will tear you up, bitch.”

He’s exhausting, but awesome.  He’s still small enough to carry, and when he’s tired, I can pick him up like a baby and take him anywhere.  Until he wakes up and tries to bite my face off.  He terrorized Chloe on Christmas, successfully biting her tail, and scared her so much that she ended up cowering on J’s lap while Baxter took a nap.  Did I mention we’ve become those people who take their dog everywhere?  He slept right through 20 people opening gifts and tossing wrapping paper on Christmas Eve, and successfully peed on every floor we went to visit.

J is beyond excited to have a puppy.  He’s so sweet when he gets Baxter out of his crate to go out (he loves sleeping in his crate, so that’s a big plus!)  He’s currently home with him all day, and I think that’s wearing him out a bit, but you can tell Baxter loves him best.  And I think J might love Baxter more than me, so there’s that.  But overall, we’re thrilled to have this “baby” as part of our family.

Good Things

3 Dec

Remember how I was looking forward a couple of weeks ago?  Well, here’s how some of that turned out!

Last week, J & I hosted our first big holiday, Thanksgiving.  We had 11 people (and only 10 place settings.  Oops).  Man, hosting a holiday is a lot of work.  J did so much, and was an awesome sous chef.  Everything went extremely well.  No turkeys exploded, no one got sick, no drama.  The only downside was the beautiful confetti I decorated the table with was all over the floor by the end of the night.  My family is all adults, yet act like children.  That’s why I love them.

My beautiful table, pre-spilled wine and flinging leaves.

Fried turkey goodness.

Yesterday, J & I celebrated our 5 year anniversary.  We had a beautiful wedding, and, more importantly, a beautiful marriage.  We’ve had our share of troubles, but through it all, he never fails to make me laugh, or at least roll my eyes.  There’s no one I’d rather have by my side.

A few of my favorite pictures from that day:

Me in my cape.  My mom made it, and I loved that thing, even though it was 55 degrees and I didn’t technically need it!

J & I at the reception.

My MOH and I.

The wedding party.

Getting the party started.

The fam dancing.

Last dance.

(The last four pics were taken by our awesome, funny, talented photographers, Kjeld & Melissa Mahoney.  www.kjeldm.com)

Onward & upward!

Looking Forward

17 Nov

Its been a long couple of weeks at our house.  In retrospect, we probably should have stayed in FL like J suggested.  In the spirit of optimism, I’m not going to talk about the issues here, but instead, tell you about the things we’re looking forward to!

I have tomorrow off, and I’m going to Boston to visit my old office at BAC.  More importantly, I’ll be having lunch and extra strong margaritas with Joe during the day, and J is coming up at night to join the fun.  I’m actually looking forward to the train ride!

Sunday we’ll be running the Mews Gear N Beer 5K, my first race since July.  (Wow, that’s pathetic).  I made the mistake of running with J a couple of times in the last few weeks, so I’m mentally prepared for him to beat me.  Again.  It doesn’t really matter though, since the important thing is that there is free beer at the end, and pizza and cookies later!  And turkey hats!

Because I’m obsessed with pinterest, I’m also obsessed with organizing.  My current dream day is a trip to the Container Store with no budget, to get all sorts of jars and racks and shelves.  My kitchen is giving me anxiety.

Next week, we’re hosting our first big holiday, and I’m super excited.  I have my menu planned, lots of help from my family & J, and am looking forward to having everyone over to celebrate.  I’m also hoping that the smell of turkeys frying will keep this guy (and his buddy) away!

If you’ve been in a store in the past 3 months, you know that Christmas is coming!  I love the holiday season, and I’m not afraid to admit it.  I can’t wait for a tree, and cookies, and presents, and food, and family.

Looking even further ahead, I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of my BFF’s twins.  She is too, as she is on bed rest, and March can’t come soon enough!  In the meantime, I look forward to visiting with her, making her food, and planning how I’m going to spoil my future niece & nephew.  They will, obviously, each be getting something like this, along with every stupid onesie and loud toy I can find.

So, yay!  Good things!

Cupcakes!

17 Feb

I had a whole blog in my head about Valentine’s Day pros and cons, but kind of forgot to finish it.  Instead, I’ll just tell you about the cupcakes I made.

We had a Valentine’s Day sweet exchange at BAC last week.  I was led to believe this was a contest and I could win a prize.  Since I won the last bake-off (two years ago), I felt like I needed to hold on to my crown, so I turned up the heat on my competition, and looked to my new favorite cupcake site for inspiration.

If you haven’t been to bake it in a cake, you should go now.  I made the cupcakes with mini pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving, and they were a big hit.  So, for Valentine’s Day, I made Red Velvet cupcakes with mini chocolate pies baked inside, topped with cream cheese buttercream.  They sound hard, look awesome, and taste great.  They’re not that hard, just time consuming.  Here is the photographic evidence:

This is my favorite kitchen appliance, the reason I got married (kidding).  J’s fryer is in the background.  It doesn’t belong there, but its been there for 2 weeks.

Here are 1/2 of the cupcakes, with the pies dropped in.  They just need to be topped with more cupcake batter and baked.  I am not a neat baker.

Here is the finished product!  I ran out of red food coloring, so they’re more like pink velvet cupcakes.

And here is J enjoying the final product.  I think he’s had at least 5 of them.

 

So, after all this work (and a batch of peanut butter bars), I had to drag 48 cupcakes into work, on the train, with a bad arm from bowling (don’t ask).  I put them in the fridge, and then lovingly placed them on the table with the other sweets, anxious for the judging and voting to begin.  Then I realized no one was voting, they were just eating.  So I read the little sign above the heart shaped entry forms and was horrified.

There was no bake-off.

There was a prize, but it was done as a simple drawing, nothing as recognition for slaving away for hours in the kitchen.  Did I mention my bowling arm?  And the fact I spent an hour at the gym with nothing to eat but toast & batter?  For nothing.  Sure, maybe my cupcake made someone’s day a little nicer, but if there was no prize, was it really worth it?

Hello, my friends, hello.

27 Dec

I know, I know.  Its been way too long.  I have no valid excuses.  I just haven’t been writing.  I’ve thought of it, often.  I made up excuses.  The bottom line is, I didn’t write.

But here I am, back like a bad boyfriend.  I’ll be better, I swear.  But I need you.  Help me help you.  Comment your hearts out.  Stoke my little ego, and I’ll come back, I promise.  No, really this time.

What have I been up to, you ask?  I’d love to tell you I was busy finding myself, doing major home renovations, or even achieving world peace.  No such luck.  It was more along the lines of: failing at P90X, going on some trips, hanging with friends and J, and suffering through rides on the commuter rail.

Even though I’ve been MIA for months, I’m going to leave you now to be with my wine, my husband, and Intervention.  But I’m going to give  you some pictures to keep you happy.  I’m uploading them via my new MacBook Pro, the newest item in my line of love/hate relationships.

(Oh, do you like the new look?  I did it months ago, but never actually posted anything with it.  Worth the wait?)

We went to Baltimore.  I ate him.

This is my parents’ hall closet.  I fear I am adopted.

We went to St. Lucia.

(The village behind us is where Geoffrey from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is from!)

J beat me in a race in November.  I was not happy.

(and that is a turkey tied around my neck.  what?)

We had a classy Christmas cocktail party.  What’s more classy than Barrack with a condom full of blue cheese?

 

In other news, I need a life.  🙂