rub-a-dub-tub (07/11)

So normally you don’t bath your newborn until their little cord falls off. Unless they have a mop of hair that is getting kind of questionable looking. Then you give them a sponge bath and wash that hair.

 

Wash, wash, wash!

 

She was a very expressive newborn – she’s still very expressive. She was also a very focused newborn. I think she must’ve been born with completely functioning eyes because she could track things a lot earlier than “normal” and she had pretty decent neck control for a less than 2 week old baby.

I look at this picture and think “HUH!?”. Sure – her face is weird, but I weighed less than 200 pounds in this picture. Which is almost 50 pounds less than I weigh right now (and almost 70 pounds less than what I weighed two months ago). I could blame it on nursing – because nursing made me ridiculously hungry – but a lot of it was just laziness and trying to keep things simple. Clearly it took me two years to get my life back under my own control. Waaah.

The best part about post-bath-baby was the ridiculously fluffy hair. It was, in a word, awesome. Soft and sticking straight up. And a thumbs up for a successful first bath.

Of course, the post-cord-falling-off-first-bath was a bit more traumatizing. We didn’t have a special baby bath tub, so we just lined out bathroom sink with a towel, then put warm water in the sink. It seemed like a nice way to do it, right? Cushy? Ginny did not agree.

 

Well… she liked it so much she didn’t want us to take her out of the bath.

I can still hear her screeching in my mind’s ear. That’s a thing right?

Aaaand… we’re all good again.

 

 

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at the hospital – 07/13/2011

Prepare to be inundated with baby pictures. I wobbled back and forth about whether I wanted to post lots of pictures of Ginny, but when it comes down to it this blog is kind of like my life scrapbook, and I would most certainly have pictures of my daughter in my scrapbook. In an effort to make up for not blogging for two years I’m going to be posting old pictures, and trying to remember the stories behind them.

Our second family picture:

 

The numbers are iffy. But I count the first picture of her on my chest as the “first” one – but that one involves a very dirty baby and a lot of emotions on my face. I don’t actually like looking at it because it just says “motherhood is terrifying!”. Which may be true, but isn’t the important part. The important part is that my child was born with enough have to tie a bow in it. That right there is a piece of yarn – not a velcro bow. And it is actually tied around a handful of Ginny’s newborn hair.

Yes I had ridiculous heartburn the entire time I was pregnant, why do you ask?

 

 

Because of the few mishaps we experienced when Ginny was born (meconium, long labor, and that she stopped breathing the first time I tried to nurse her), we ended up staying an extra night. Technically I should’ve been discharged, but the nurse there said that my insurance would cover the second day and  it would be easier to have the room while we waited for all of the double-checks on the baby and stuff. During that day there was a lot of crying. For Ginny – not me. Shots, blood tests, breathing tests, hearing, etc. It was also a day of much visitation.

I’m going to be honest: It never occurred to me that people would send flowers. And balloons! But the morning after Ginny’s birth we had a beautiful display. Three from my husband’s family, and one from my Dad’s work. lol.

Daddy, Mommy, & Ginny

Especially in the beginning people would comment on how much she looked like me. I think they were thrown off by the hair. Apart from the hair all I see if B-man. Look at those cheeks! Those are most certainly my husband’s cheeks.

Next we’ll go down the roll:

B’s Dad

B’s Mom
My Mom
My Dad

Additionally my grandparents and then B-man’s brother and SIL stopped by as well.

My Dad was actually there in the afternoon as we were checking out of the hospital. He left work early to come and help us get everything back into the car, get home, and get settled. He was kind of the underdog of this whole experience. I didn’t think I would want my Dad there. When he showed up with my Mom I was a little weirded out – but I am so incredibly thankful that he was there.

She looked so tiny buckled into the carseat. Her head flopped to one side and the buckles seemed to encapsulate her. We drove home, then headed into our apartment. Since my family consisted of mostly minors at the time, and minors were not allowed into the maternity wing unless they were siblings of the newborn, none of my siblings were able to visit in the hospital. Instead we went home, got settled, and then called my Mom to bring everyone over.  We ordered some pizzas and every body took turns holding Ginny. I can’t find the pictures from this – but I swear it happened.

So that covers from the night Ginny was born, until we took her home. It’s just the beginning. 🙂

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November Goals

 

  1. Hang the shelves in the laundry room.
  2. Put my room together. No extra stuff.
  3. 1+ backlogged post per week.
  4. Menu plan.
  5. Budget plan for trip to Sweden.

 

Plenty of big and little things to do this month. I had been really good about menu planning for two months, but it’s one of those things – if anything gets off track menu planning goes out the window. B-man’s parents are talking about a trip to Sweden in the next year. Flying to Europe and staying for a bit is kind of expensive. I know we could find the money to get there, but I want to be able to enjoy the trip too. Can I save a couple thousand by menu planning?

 

I’ve decided to start blogging backlogged pictures. I’ll call it “Backblogging”. My intention it to write the posts, have them in their “new” chronological location for a set period of time (a few weeks maybe). Then I will change the posted date to the original date of the pictures. So… I’m going to slowly fill in the last two years. I guess the nice thing is I can do it out of order if I want to.

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a purpose in blogging

I started blogging in high school. Way back when LiveJournal was the premier place to post what kind of animal you are or what your birthday means.

 

Oddly, I spend a lot of time contemplating this silly little spot on the internet. I wish I could write more, I wish I had more to write about. I wish I did more so that I had more to write about.

 

I’d like to spend my days doing the little things. Sewing my daughter’s clothes, making my own yogurt, knitting, painting the rooms in my house, reading, and heck – blogging! But these are the little things that come second. The other things in my life… well… they are mundane. Before my Nanny passed away I wrote her a letter, much like I did every month. I told her about my day. It felt so weird, knowing my Aunt was reading it to her on her deathbed. I told her that I was thinking about buying a new bike because I need to get out of the house more., that I had made pork chops for dinner the night before – they were dry. I mentioned that I had moved the piano across the room and put a new desk where the piano used to be, and set up pictures of her so that Ginny can see them every time she climbs up onto the bench. Mundane. But it felt good. I’d imagine when you’re dying and every one is sad it’s nice to have a sense of normalcy. That’s what I tried to give her. Normalcy.

Virginia in the fall.

I’d like to go backwards. I took so many pictures when Ginny was a little bit. I think I might – maybe do a month in recap for each of her first months. Perhaps that would help me be more concise in my efforts to make a “year book” for her. She’s going on 2.5 years now and I still haven’t gotten it done!

 

Of course, at the end of the day is my disclaimer: I did what was best. I love that Ginny spent her first year of life in my arms. Sure – I could’ve been blogging or making a year book or something else more “fun” from my to-do list, but I try to remember that it wasn’t just giving up something, but that I gained serious, quality time with my little family. I don’t regret that.

 

When we got home from the store this evening Ginny ran up and down the sidewalk jumping all over the place. She reached her little arms up shouting “The moon! The moon! Oh! I can’t reach it!”. It was precious. I try to close my eyes and take a mental image when she does these things. A little video in my mind to think of when she’s sleeping. Because oddly – despite the craziness of the day – I miss her at night. I wish she was still the tiny infant that slept in my arms. But there it is again, giving up the snuggles for the intelligent little munchkin. I love it.

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hot caramel apple cider

A nominally interesting fact about me: I’m allergic to raw apples. I didn’t develop this allergy until I was in college, and I fondly remember the feeling of biting into a crisp ripe apple. I think I miss caramel apples most. I didn’t eat them often, but the few times I did have them over my apple-eating times were memorable. Luckily I can still eat processed apple products (apple juice, apple sauce, apple pie, baked apples, etc.). During the holiday season I am the first to volunteer apple cider. I love the stuff. A lot. Fast forward to an amazon purchase mistake.

 

A bushel of Ginny. Apple picking last year (2012).

 

I wanted to buy Torani, sugar-free, vanilla syrup for putting in hot beverages and making calorie free cream soda (just add it to bubbly water!). Super yummy. So I bought what I thought was a case of the vanilla flavored syrup, and when it arrived I had actually purchased a case of the caramel flavor. I tried it a few different ways, but it wasn’t really my cup of tea. Then – out of no where – we were hosting a Halloween party and some one mentioned bringing an apple cider with caramel rum punch type drink.

 

All of that combines to: I made some really yummy hot caramel apple cider. The real secret is a percolator.

 

My mother gave us this one. It seems like a silly thing to own – but we use it all winter long. Every party is graced with hot apple cider or any other hot beverage. If you host, or go to, a lot of parties during the winter I think it is worth the $40 price tag. 🙂

I’m not picky about the apple cider I choose. Usually the cheapest – because I buy two and it can be expensive.

I buy two, but start with one. One gallon of juice, one gallon of water. This fills 2/3 of my percolator. In case you aren’t aware, percolators come with a basket in the top that the juice is dripped over. In the basket I put three medium sticks of cinnamon, and 2 Tbsps of cloves. As the juice is heated it gets sucked up a straw, then dripped over the basket of spices, back into the main pot, then back up again. It’s yummy.

 

Then once that is all set up I take this bottle:

It’s a 750 ml bottle. I’m still working on the ratios, but I use less than half of the bottle. Just dump it on in there. Even if you’re not a sugar-free fan… use the sugar free. There is so much sugar in the apple cider that it covers up any possible after taste. I usually don’t tell people the sugar-free bit until afterwards and every response has been “Wow – I never would’ve guess!”, plus… no extra extra calories. lol.

Whenever I serve this at my house I like to pull out my Weihnachtsmarkt boot-shaped mugs that I collected while I live in Germany. There they have Christmas markets and you can buy mulled, spiced wine (or the kinder version, which is some sort of spiced juice), and you pay a small deposit on the cup. If you return the mug you get your money back, or you can keep it as a souvenir. I have about 20 of them.

I’ve already served this three times this season, and it’s been a hit every time!

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a new page

I love my neighborhood mom group. My neighborhood is really unique, in that is is very old-time community-esque. I guess I haven’t really talked much about my house – so I’ll save that for another time, but regardless: I love it. The mom group has a facebook page, and that is how I found my new book club.

 

We read Ender’s Game last month, and I hosted it at my house. There were 8 of us, and I am now the proud owner of 6 bottles of wine… lol. Wine’s not really my cup of tea, so whenever I host I usually end up saving it to open up when my husband’s family comes over, regift it, or use it in cooking. But… not the point.

 

So I spent a lot of time cleaning my house today. Pause.

 

Yesterday my daughter had a death wish. I was in the bathroom for 2 minutes. 3 minutes MAX. I knew it was too good to be true – that my toddler was letting me pee in the bathroom by myself. But I didn’t question it and enjoyed the restroom respite. Then I went down stairs. Then I wanted to cry and run away at the same time.

 

Unpictured are the marks on every single appliance, magnets, toys, bags, a spatula, the island, the pantry doors, the kitchen table, and her clothes.

So once I was sure I could look at Ginny without experiencing irrational anger we got into the car to drive to Target to get some magic erasers.

She definitely understood that Mommy is upset (still… a day later…) but thankfully I handled it gracefully, and she only spent some good time on the bottom step. I don’t think the punishment suited the crime, but she did have to help scrub and got her legos taken away. Of course – no legos is punishment for everyone, as it’s her favorite and most engaging toy.

Silly girl.

So today was mostly tidying around the house, finding more marker marks, cleaning the floors, rearranging chairs, and cooking yummy food.

We chatted for a bit, Ender’s Game was not the best book I’ve ever read. I can see why people like it, but I found it difficult to get in to.

No in depth analysis here. I’m actually not a big fan of reading. I get headaches and have a hard time following long storylines when I read it myself. But I’ve worked out a system:

B-man reads to me, while I knit. Unfortunately I find his voice so soothing that I often end up falling asleep mid-chapter. 🙂

But it’s been a good night. I didn’t want to deal with cleaning up after a fire, so I collected a bunch of candles from round the house and stuck them all in there. Kind of silly, but it does add a nice ambiance.

I served a cheese platter with Gouda and peppered cheddar (so yummy!) along with turkey summer sausage, grapes, strawberries, and rosemary/olive oil triscuits. Then I also did a little pinterest-adventuring. So… I’ll start here: the original pin. It was just picture. The link was a dead end and came with no further instructions.

I mean… it looked simple enough. So off to Wegman’s I went. They have really delicious asiago/artichoke dip at Wegman’s, so I thought I could substitute that for the spinach dip. But… when I got there I found that the dip was $6 for a small container. So I hoped on my phone and found a recipe for asiago artichoke dip. I used this recipe as a jumping off point. My recipe looked more like this:

2 – 10 oz jars of marinated artichoke hearts

4 cloves of garlic

3.5 cups shredded asiago cheese

2 cups finely shredded mild cheddar cheese

1 cup mayo

1 cup whole milk plain yogurt

garlic salt & pepper to taste.

I forgot about the lemon juice.

I combined the first two ingredients in my stand mixer with the paddle attachment. It broke the pieces up really well. Then I added everything else. Mix, mix, mix. Assemble as picture. Then I just had to guess. I baked it at 425 degrees F, for about 30 minutes (I just it at 20 and twisted it around so it would brown evenly.

My biggest mistake was using store-bought pie crust. I make a mean pie crust. It’s delicious, and I love making it. I wish I had just made it. But I was trying to be chill and not put too much stress on myself. The store bought crust was too thick, and not pliable. All was going well. Circle of dip, bunch of dip in the middle, top pie crust, bowl over the middle, fork the edges closed, cut the slices and… I couldn’t turn the pieces on their sides without ripping the pie dough. So… mine was just flat. It worked out fine though. I cut the pieces so that they could be picked up easily, and the store bought crust was still pretty yummy. Works either way, might be prettier if made with a homemade crust.

I also served hot caramel apple cider. I’m sharing that recipe in a later post. 😀 It’s my new favorite holiday treat.

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So… pinterest is my crack.

Some how, at some point… along the last two years… I’ve gotten really in to pinterest. It was a slow building relationship. I didn’t like the website, nor the style at first. It really was clunky and awkward. But they’ve ironed out their bugs, and I’ve got a “Pin It” button on my browser now. Typically if I don’t like a website to begin with I will rarely give it a second try. Things either click or they don’t, so going back to (and subsequently falling in love) pinterest is kind of a big deal to me.

But something else weird has happened. I… well… I got a ton of followers. Many of them are people I know, but since I’ve started really organizing and focusing my boards I have gained a bunch of followers of people I don’t actually know! It’s really neat to me. It feels really authentic. Some times when I blog I forget that I can blog for myself, and try to write so that it is more appealing for people to read – but I don’t feel that pressure with pinterest.

 

So… here is comes: If you’re on pinterest leave me a comment with your user name. I love finding new and interesting boards. 🙂 If you’re interested in finding my boards my user name is… you guessed it… oneshinystar.

 

 

I’ve also spent a silly amount of time organizing these things. It’s kind of paid off though, as I’ve really made some headway in actually DOING things I find on pinterest, now that it’s easier to find the things I’ve pinned!

 

 

 

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secrets.

What are we told, of secrets? They are every where. Yet… nowhere. I’ve been told that secrets eat you up. The good ones excite and overflow, the bad ones burrow and fester. But I think there is a third kind.   The kind that just exists.   Like when you meet and stranger, but don’t know their name. I keep these secrets. One day I’ll be able to write about the, but until then they just sit, content to exist,with me content in their existence.

 

 

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Blacksburg

I didn’t go to Virginia Tech but I do love going there. B-man and I started dating the summer before his senior year at Tech and I spent that year driving through the mountains to visit him every chance I got. Of course those drives were half Tennessee, half Virginia, the drive through the Shenandoah Valley is just as beautiful (from northern Virginia to south western Virginia).

For B-man’s birthday I picked up a pair of tickets for the VT v. Duke football game. He is really into football, and I find it kind of unique. Though he loves his own team in particular he really is a fan of the sport – watching how the conferences function and even cross-conference interactions. I don’t have the mental capacity to care that much about something so abstract and removed… but I spend every Tuesday knitting – that’s to say, we each do what we like.

 

Any who – football tickets. It seemed like a grand plan to me. Surprised him with football tickets, leave Ginny with her Aunt & Uncle, then drive to Blacksburg for a day of fun. We left Friday after B-man was done with work, and drove the 15 minutes to his brother’s house. They are so good with Ginny. This was the third time we’ve left her over night with them, but the first time we’ve gone out of town (we usually just go back home and sleep for 24 hours!). The game was scheduled for noon on Saturday, and we intended on driving home after the game.

On our way down I got an e-mail saying the game time had been moved from noon to 3:30. It didn’t seem like a big deal but ended up being a bane.

As much as I love fall, and would’ve loved to make this trip during the day, it was dark by the time we got into the mountains. This means I have no gorgeous pictures of fall colored mountains. None the less, it was a nice drive. There is something reminiscent about making that drive with just my hubby. We got to the hotel around 11 pm, and checked in. I hadn’t realized how small the room would be, but for the two of us it was perfect (would’ve been a little torturous with Ginny though).

 

 

The picture makes it took bigger than it was. Side note: we took one bag, that was barely full. So proud of our light packing skills, but after the fact I’d wished I’d remembered to grab a hair brush and a real bra instead of the sports bra I’d worn for the car ride. lol

So at 8 am, with just under 8 hours of sleep, we packed up our one bag, and drove to campus. We knew that if we got there early enough we could park at the LDS church building on campus for free. So… we got to campus at 9 am and had six hours to kill.

wamp wamp. It was also really cold, and since it hasn’t gotten that cold where we live I conveniently forgot that Virginia Tech is in the mountains and neither of us was really dressed appropriately for this trip. This picture below is us at the war memorial above the drill field – which is the center of campus really. To the right of the field are most of the classroom buildings. In this picture the tree above B-man’s head is where the memorial to the shooting victims is. The building is just out side of the picture. To the left is where most of the on-campus housing is.

If I had realized that we could’ve waited to park until 2 something (when there were still empty spots in the lot) we would’ve gone to breakfast, maybe hit up a store in Christiansburg for some toddler VT gear… but as it stood we didn’t know that was an option. So we parked, walked around, then realized no place was open for breakfast. We went to the on campus book store and picked up a few t-shirts and a hat for B-man (most of his old ones are faded now any way), and then at 11 we finally got to eat!

B-man requested that we eat at Mike’s. It’s a pizza and burger joint right off of campus – but B says the best thing there are the calzones.

 

After calzones (I had pepperoni and Italian sausage in mine!) we headed off for a walk on campus. As we were walking down we saw the Highty-Tighties lining up to march, so we followed them around campus for a bit.

 

After a while they headed off towards the stadium, but we still have 3 hours before the game started. We headed back towards the car, but not before stopping by B-man’s last dorm.

About five years ago he and I took this picture outside of his dorm room…

Then we found ourselves walking along the same path, and we paused to take an updated version. 🙂

 

Some friend and family on facebook said they weren’t sure which was the old version and which was the newer one! lol. I can definitely see the difference, especially in B-man.

 

Once we got back to the car we did a walk around the parking lots to see all the tailgaters. We were invited to join a rowdy group of students but it made me feel incredibly old so we didn’t stop. Once we’d worn out our feet we still had two more hours to wait. Since we hadn’t intended on being on the road so late we headed back to the car where I took a power nap while B-man played on his 3DS. Yes… we’re a little boring.

Once game time was a little closer we headed to the stadium. I enjoy going to live sporting events. It’s very different from watching them on TV, and it’s especially fun if you let yourself get into it and do some of the silly things the fans do. We had pretty good seats. Near the 50 yard line and far up enough to see the whole field and the jumbo-tron.

Even though the Hokies lost, we still had a pretty good time. It was nice to go back and visit, beautiful scenery, and I know B-man enjoys going back… even if it makes us feel old and his team loses.

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Things I do too much: start, try, expect.

Start: I am very good at starting things, not so great at finishing. Though I do eventually get things done, and it’s not as bad as it could be, I wish I had more hours in the day. I’d say I’ve got about 10 projects in various stages right now. Between my laundry nook make-over that is 95% done, to the dresses I planned to make for Ginny this summer… where I purchased the items and never got around to making them.

 

 

Try: I try too hard. I realize I can’t do everything. I could – with enough time and enough money – accomplish almost anything. Of course, trying too much applies to so many more aspects of my life, and not just crafts. I try to make people happy. It’s not something that comes naturally to me – going out of my way for others. It’s more like an attribute that I envy in others, so I push it. I do things for people because it makes them happy, and making people happy makes me happy. It’s round about, but it’s worth it.

 

 

Expect: I’ve always been told to have high expectations, like having high expectations leads to achieving high expectations. I’m here to report that I personally think this is bad advice. While it may inspire some one to reach for the stars, it also leaves you with a lot of disappointment – as noted before, I can’t do everything. I’ve found that the secret to having a happy life, and parenting, and marriage is to have realistic expectations. My husband is not excitable, so I try to remember that he shows his gratitude in his smile (and not in big happy dances like I would prefer). My daughter is two, not 20, and she behaves like a two year old. Accepting that makes for a much smoother day. I can only accomplish so much in a day. Sometimes I don’t have big elaborate plans for my daughter – some days we just hang out and play legos or even *gasp* watch Mickey Mouse while we snuggle on the couch. I like those days.

 

 

In closing: I do what I can, and that’s all I can do.

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A new leaf.

So… truth be told… I’ve given up carbs. Not in a “sugar fast” kind of way, or how some people give up carbs for a month. I’m just done with them. I started this two months ago, and have since lost 20 pounds. Again, truth be told, B-man’s birthday was a rough few days. He has not given up carbs the same way I have, and I don’t want to punish him. So yes… there has been Taco Bell and home made pasta (and cake!) in the last week, but that’s the thing: they were a special treat.

The new diet: meat, cheese, vegetables. I’m allergic to most fruits. I still have strawberries on occasion – but they are surprisingly low in sugars. I do my menu planning each week. I started menu planning because we have been following a more strict budget, but it also makes it so much easier to stay on task. I plan one protein and two veggies per dinner, and then lunch is usually something you might find on a sandwich, but on a salad instead. I tried doing “low carb” but I often found myself feeling deprived. It was hard to hold back after having a little. Snacking is really my worst enemy. So now instead of snacking on chips or crackers, I snack on cheese and pepperoni. I didn’t think that change would make a difference, but it has.

Cooking became a lot more simple too. I try to mix my meal plans between simple and more complex dishes – though nothing is assigned to a specific day… except Tuesday. Tuesdays are left over days. 🙂

We have 2 “cheat” meals – though it’s easy to be good when they food is so yummy. I’ve also said that if I make it from scratch in my own home that I will be happy to eat it. A trade off of preservatives for my time, I’ve convinced myself it’s healthier that way. lol. Plus – if I make it myself I’m not as likely to make them as often (unlike when I have cake mix in my house… a Thursday afternoon is reason enough for cake when cake mix is involved!).

I don’t really plan to harp on about the way I eat a whole bunch. I know it’s not something that a lot of people think they could do, or want to do, or have an interest in doing. But I like it. I don’t feel like I’m starving myself, I am eating yummy foods, a lot more veggies, and am much happier with the general way I’m eating.

So… next week I will be picking the leaf back up (is that how this metaphor works?) and jumping back on my plan. 🙂

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B-man’s Birthday

In 2009, just a month after we had gotten married, we celebrated B-man’s 23 birthday. Weird… it seems so long ago, and yet.. not.

 

That lovely bearded man is my husband. That lovely handmade wrapping paper is covering the iPod I got for him.

Well… this year… he’s 27… and there weren’t any physical gifts to unwrap. I’ve given so many video games and electronics over the last few years. I don’t mind – it is what he likes and that is the purpose of a gift. But it’s also nice to give things that aren’t so material. So this year I gave him two things. My time (and Ginny’s)… and football tickets.

 

I shared pictures of Ginny and I working on his cake. We did that on his actual birthday – but Tuesdays are crazy in this house, so we postponed our celebrating until a later point.

Before cake though: let us eat! B-man and I were both born in Germany, and we both attended high school in Germany, and we both have a certain affinity for all things German. Luckily German food is delicious and while I find it easy, it is a bit time consuming. I served schnitzel, paprika cabbage, a green salad and home made speatzle (noodles). I pulled out the table clothe and some candle sticks (B gave me those flowers a week ago). Special occasions call for special decorations.

 

 

If I had really been on top of things I would’ve cleaned up the dining room. But… I wasn’t. Instead Ginny and I visited the Marine Museum for a nice autumn walk. Somethings gotta give though, so we ate in the kitchen – but it was fancy.

 

The birthday boy hammered the schnitzel to make sure they were super thin – and he said they came out very authentic. Yum! Ignore those boxes, focus on the romantic special candles!

 

 

The cake was a simple yellow cake recipe from my favorite cook book, butter-cream frosting with a little bit of blueberry juice, and fresh berries to decorate. Those berries were a last minute addition but they were delicious and definitely took the simple cake up a level. (27?!?!?)

 

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The cake was Daddy and Ginny approved (she was so proud of herself for getting it all on her fork – goof ball!).

Happy birthday to my sweet husband. I’m lucky to get to celebrate each year with you – just wish those years would slow down a little!

 

 

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Time in the kitchen.

I’m sure my Mom taught me to cook. Maybe it was incidental. Maybe it was just something I picked up. I don’t remember really – but I’m quite fond of food (my waistline can vouch). Our family has turned a new page recently, and with this new page comes a new dedication to cook at home, and do things myself. In the last two months I have made every dinner we’ve eaten with my own hands, in my own kitchen. That might not seem impressive – but it really is. I’ve made home made mayonnaise, chicken pot-pie (in celebration of Autumn Equinox!), a delicious pot roast, a cake from scratch, and a couple of German inspired dishes. We’ve tried a few things that weren’t so successful, but B-man and I are just rolling with the punches. That cauliflower puree didn’t turn out to be… edible? Well… we have bratwurst and salad!

Besides eating healthier, spending less money, and enjoying the process… I’ve been sharing this with Ginny. As soon as I start doing anything that looks like cooking Ginny runs into the kitchen, to the back wall where she picks out a “bib”. I’ve tried explaining that it’s an apron – but it hasn’t stuck.

Regardless – she loves it. She loves pulling her step stool up to the counter where she’ll patiently wait for me to give her a job. She’s two – and very capable. When she was one we did a lot of fine motor skill activities – and they were definitely relevant. I would let her spoon beans from one bowl to another, or pouring from one cup to another. Now she uses those same skills to pour the ingredients into the big bowl. She also enjoys mixing – though this can get messy. I am getting good at not letting it bother me though. We spill a little, and move on – with a reminder to be more careful.

 

When we were working on Daddy’s birthday cake… I realized I was out of baking powder. A quick google showed me how to make my own though, and Ginny was all too happy to help. This is currently her favorite apron – it’s ruffly and cute. It also has ties at the neck, which is a plus since it means I can make it fit her better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We did succeed in making a cake. Though… I only had two eggs so it was half a cake. That’s for the best – since there are just the three of us. And it was a yummy cake. A little dense (is the baking powder to blame?) but delicious and not overly sweet. Definitely yummy. But pictures of that are for another day. Today, I have a picture of Ginny’s best cheese:

 

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4 years isn’t *that* long.

A lot has happened in the last four years.

I got married.

Bought the Jeep.

Graduated from college.

Got my first non-retail job.

Went to New Jersey for the first time.

Taught high school.

Gave birth.

Bought a house.

Replaced the Jeep with my Prius.

Went to Maine for the first time.

I had to put my sweet dog Gretel down.

Attended my first funeral and said goodbye to my Nanny (grandma).

Sold my Civic that I drove through college and more.

Bought B-man a new-to-us commuter car.

Been a parent for two years.

 

I’ve also learned a lot of new things:

Making yogurt.

Changing an alternator.

Changing electrical outlets & light switches.

I like reading.

Cooking from scratch is not as hard as I thought it was.

Knitting.

Surging.

How to follow a sewing pattern.

Using a smocking machine and smocking.

 

The morning of our anniversary my husband, in some misguided effort, said “Four years isn’t that long”. He was going for “We have so much ahead of us!”, but in my mind I thought “Four years… that’s an entire college degree!” And looking backwards… four years feels like a million years ago.  The fastest four years of my life – and I’ve never been happier than I am now.

For our anniversary Ginny’s Aunt T and Uncle J took her for a sleepover. B-man and I dropped her off at dinner time on Friday. Then we ran a few errands, picked up a redbox movie, and some snacks, then headed home. We watched TV, then the movie, and stayed up until midnight without having to worry about waking up at 7:00 am with Ginny. We got to sleep for 12 hours straight. I honestly could’ve slept longer – but I think my sleep needs must be at the edge of a the “average” bell curve, because I could sleep 10+ hours a night and still take an afternoon nap. I don’t get to nap though, because that’s not Ginny’s thing.

We had a lazy morning, left the house around 1, went to a late lunch at Chili’s. Apparently we go there every year. I hadn’t realized – but B-man says every year we discuss going to different places and always end up at Chili’s. Go figure. Then we went and say “Jobs” (the movie about Steve Jobs) at the theater. It was pretty good, I was surprised by a) how good it was and b) the length. I expected the movie to cover his whole life, but it only covers from the creation of the company up to the iPod.

Then we rushed to get Ginny. I definitely missed her – but it was easier knowing she was in capable hands. We didn’t get there until her bed time, so she was already cranking out a little bit since she’d missed a few hours sleep the night before, but I was glad to see my sassy girl again. She has started furrowing her brow at us, it’s… funny. Makes me wonder if she’s doing it because I do that. Toddlers are like little mirrors!

 

So here’s where I am. I’m happy. I’m 26. I parent a two year old. I’ve been married 4 years. I only have one dog. I love my life.

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Meeska! Mooska! Mouska! Two!

My little one is 2! I really can’t believe how quickly time flies. Last year I spent a lot of time prepping and planning Ginny’s first birthday. It was nice, but I felt so overwhelmed and I remember being frustrated and my little goose because I was trying to plan this party and she was… well – I realized the irony right then and there, but in the throws of baking a cake is not the time to back down. So this year I decided to go easy on myself. Simple food. No cake-pops. And just a small party. Of course, small is relative when you have a lot of family in the area and delightful neighbors.

 

Through several fine strokes of luck our basement has really rounded out, into a nice “game” room. One friend gave us the (free!) air hockey table in the background. B-man’s parents gave us the Foosball table, and behind the man in the yellow shirt (but not pictures) we also have a leather couch that our neighbor was trying to get rid of… free. All of it! It’s also nice and cool down there in the middle of summer!

B-man and I got Ginny this little castle/slide/boat hide-out. It no longer resides in the living room, but much fun was had by all while it was there.

Once the food was all ready… I forgot to take before pictures, so these slightly blurry after pictures will have to cover it. We had, per the requirement of a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse party – hot dogs.

Then I made pasta salad with bow-tie pasta, so it could be a play on Minnie’s BOWtique.

I also made jalapeno poppers. Believe it or not I picked out the foods first and then came up with the “names”. I seemed to recall a “Mexican” Donald Duck and… sure enough!

We’re also all (well… mostly) big caprese fans… and caprese rhymes with… Daisy! I’ve got some pretty good luck with this.

Then lastly I made chick-fil-a style carrot salad. It has pineapple in it, and if you’ve ever seen the MMClubhouse show, you would know that Goofy is a big lover of all thing pineapple. I had this sticker of goofy, and added the pineapple in with some felt-tips.

I made the cake too. It was… crazy. The cake stuck to the pan and was un-useable, so I made a mad morning dash to the grocery store the morning of to buy a new mix, got home and was out of eggs. Naturally. A quick trip to my neighbor’s house and that was solved. I had planned on making it look like “toodles” from the show. He’s like the Mickey equivalent to Dora’s backpack. I made the cake. The frosting. And then… I got very stressed. So my Mommy stepped in and decorated it for me. She did such a beautiful job. 🙂

And last minute too! I also made Mickey Mouse cupcakes. I made the cupcakes first, in case the cake didn’t work out.

After lunch we gather every one in the kitchen for a little song singing and candle blowing.

Can I have one of those mom?

Oh… cake!

She clapped when we all blew out the candles. She also sang the birthday song for a week afterwards.

But she didn’t actually want cake. She wanted a cupcake. Your wish is my command, birthday girl!

Ginny is so lucky to have so many people to love on her. Despite my “no presents, just fun” invitations – there were lots of presents.

She loved it – though towards the end she just wanted to play with the new things!

The last present from my Mom was a really nice surprise. It was this quilt:

It is the quilt of my childhood. It started falling apart when I was headed off to college. It was actually her first full quilt. So she decided to take it apart and sew it all back together, with proper quilting. She sent it to me while I was away at school and I loved it – though with the new seems the quilt had shrunk quit a bit and was really too small to be used as a bed quilt. So I brought it home, and asked if there was any way to make it bigger. I didn’t really think this request through – because it was a very large request and I wouldn’t have asked had I realized. My Mom took the whole quilt apart again, some how found the 20+ year old fabric, extended the quilt, then put it all back together, and gifted it to my daughter (and me!). This picture is all three of us, and the blanket. I love it!

The party was simple. Fun. Cheesy decorations from Party City that I let Ginny pick out still dot my house a month later. But I love it. People stayed from 11 – 7 pm. It’s so easy to get caught up in the world of pinterest and making everything cute and coordinated – but I enjoyed this party a lot more than I did the first one. And I know Ginny loves it – which is really all that matters.

Happy birthday little goose!

 

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