Monday, January 30, 2012

kevin

This book unsettled me before I became a parent. Now, as the mother of a boy, just hearing the name Kevin makes me quiver.

Yet, I am strangely tempted to see the movie when it comes out.



Do I dare? What do you think of the trailer?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

20 years

I received a facebook invitation recently to join the group planning my 20-year high school reunion. I almost croaked. Twenty years have passed since that milestone, more years than I had lived when I graduated in 1992. How is that possible?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

36

Happy, happy birthday to my sweetheart, who is an incredibly loving and patient husband to me and a caring and enthusiastic daddy to Mason.

Lord willing, Mason will cooperate and let the babysitter run night-night this Saturday so that we can enjoy your annual birthday trek to a steakhouse. Smith and Wollensky, here we come!

I love you!

Monday, January 23, 2012

what to freeze?

Whether or not I continue working for the long term, Brad and I are still dealing with less disposable income now that Mason is here and will be in daycare. Trimming the budget can be depressing, but I also find it refreshing. It doesn't always happen, but I do strive to live simply.

One area of our budget in need of improvement is our food expenses. Because we rarely eat out, get carryout, or order food for delivery, I'm not as disciplined as I could be at the grocery store. Yes, I use my store's value card, and buy sale items and store brands when possible, but I'd never consider myself a financially savvy menu planner or grocery shopper. Our monthly $500 grocery bill for two adults is a testament to that, even though we both eat breakfast and dinner at home and take our lunches to work most days.

Now that I have a bit more freezer space, I hope to stockpile meats and other goodies when they go on sale. A couple years ago, a friend told me that she freezes nuts, which I had never thought to do. I've heard another friend mention freezing cheese, but I've never tried it. I do freeze bread.

What do you stockpile in your freezer?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

deep freeze

One thing that being a working mommy the past two weeks has taught me is that I need to find a new plan for weeknight dinners. I have an hour, or two at the most, between when I get home and Mason's bedtime. (Brad has about five minutes, if he's lucky. He normally strolls in and heads right upstairs to help with bedtime, all while still wearing his suit and dress shoes--that's dedication!)

I don't want to spend my son's limited awake time slaving over the stove, and I really can't because he usually fusses for at least a little attention. I don't mind eating at 8 PM after Mason falls asleep, but starting the whole cooking process at 8 is just too late for this early-to-bed girl. (I did that once last week. We ate at 9:30 PM.) We rarely order food for delivery or get take-out, and now, with the extra expenses of a baby and his daycare, is not the time to start.

My solution, at least for now, is to invest in a deep freezer to keep in our basement. I am ecstatic about my new appliance! It's the smallest one on the market--only five cubic feet--but it supposedly will hold 175 pounds of food. With breast milk taking over my regular freezer, I need some extra space anyway, for both the milk and food.

My plan is to make and stockpile some freezer meals that I can pop in the oven before putting Mason to bed. Although I'm sure these types of meals may get old, even taking this approach a couple times a week will save me precious time.

What are your favorite meals to make and freeze? I have a few ideas, but would love to hear more.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

words

Okay, I admit it. This is the real reason I'm not making much progress on Anna Karenina.

I'm late to this craze, and I've only played a handful of games, but I'm officially addicted. Anyone care to play?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

four months

Mason turns four months today! He rolls and smiles and giggles and laughs.


But when he means business, he means it.


Nobody messes with this little four-month-old, not even his mama!

Friday, January 13, 2012

back to work update

Thanks very much for your encouragement and support as I returned to work on January 3rd. It's been a long two weeks, but Mason and I have survived. Actually, not much has changed for him yet. Two weeks before Christmas, his daycare arrangement fell through, which left me scrambling to find another spot. I secured one, and he starts on January 23rd. Until then, we're making do with grandparents visiting and caring for him at our home. I've learned that I can get myself up and ready, and Mason fed and dressed, without too many problems. It may be a different story once Brad or I have to get him (and all of his stuff) out the door at a decent time each morning.

Being back at work is strange. Work is exactly how I remember it, but my life has completely changed. Before Mason, I was busy and productive at work and my days flew by. Now, I'm still busy and fairly productive (even while pumping--thank goodness for these!), but each day feels like an eternity. I miss my baby! I never dreamed I could miss someone so much.

And the pumping, oh my goodness, the pumping. I love breastfeeding, but I abhor pumping. I could, and probably will, devote an entire blog post to pumping gaffes that have happened already. I'm committed, though, and will persevere during the coming months. It's amazing what you'll do for your child. Pumping is only the beginning. Fellow mamas, am I right?

I miss the new mommy/new baby bubble that's been my life since September 17th!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2011 reading analysis

All of these statistics are down from last year, but I think I have a pretty good excuse as to why. I still met my reading goals for 2011.
  • Total # of Books Started and Finished = 22 read and 7 audio for a GRAND TOTAL of 29
  • Average # of Books Read Per Month = 1.83 (read) or 2.42 (read/listened to)
  • Best Reading Month = January (7)
  • Worst Reading Month = December (0)
  • Total Pages Read This Year = 7,805
  • Average Pages Per Book =354
  • Average Pages Read Per Day = 21
  • Average Pages Read Per Month = 650
  • Total # of Fiction Books Read = 15 (+7 listened to)
  • Total # of Nonfiction Books Read = 7
  • Total # of Classics = 8 (also included in the fiction tally)
  • Total # of Books Reread = 0
  • Total # of Chunksters (450+ pages) Read = 4
  • FAVORITE read of 2011: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
  • Lesson learned: Don't select a tome for a married reading challenge and expect it to go smoothly!
2011 lacked a book craze like past years, probably because I didn't read enough. I need to work on that. I'm ready to get obsessed by a book and/or series again--I'm due! Any recommendations?

Monday, January 9, 2012

2012 goals

I'm keeping it simple this year.

1. Finish January's book club selection by the end of 2012. It's already proving to be a challenge.
2. Complete the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler. Volunteering at last year's race guaranteed my entry into this year's race. Hooray! Now I just need to find the time to train for it.
3. Learn how to use Pinterest
4. Kiss my precious son's sweet cheeks and tell him how much I love him each day.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2011 goals recap

Let's see how I did with 2011's goals.

Cooking

  • Select and prepare one recipe per month that challenges me (i.e. involves an in-depth procedure or a technique or piece of equipment that is unfamiliar to me). 
I am counting this category as a win. I did conduct and blog about a recipe challenge each month. Some of the recipes could have been more challenging, but I did the best I could with a big life change

Running
  • 400 miles
  • I'd like to work on speed this year. I'll never be a fast runner, but I slowed down a little in 2010, and I'm not happy about it. So, by July 1st, I hope to reduce my minutes/mile pace by 30 seconds/mile for my standard five-mile run before work. By December 31st, I hope to finish this standard run one minute per mile faster. 
Okay, well, neither of these goals happened. BUT, I did run 167.3 miles this year (161.3 of them while pregnant), so that counts for something.

Reading

In addition to all selections for both book clubs I'm in, I will read the following books:
SUCCESS! My detailed reading analysis will be posted soon.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

take your makeup to work day

Have you ever had one of those days where you anticipate a breakdown? When we were going through fertility treatments, I often took my makeup to work with me in anticipation of my nurse calling around lunchtime with results and/or next steps. Whether those phone calls contained good or bad news, I usually needed to do a little midday repair to my face, at least enough to get me out of my office and to the car without completely alarming anyone.

I'm bringing my makeup with me to work today. It's January 3rd, and I'm heavyhearted.