Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 in Review

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before? Birthed a child. Had major surgery in order to birth said child. Nursed said child. Fell head over heels in love with said child. Went to Cincinnati, and promptly wanted to move there. Took a Zumba class. Cooked new foods like quinoa and bulghur.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I don't really think I made any last year. For 2012 I think I'll go on record to say I'd like to be a better friend. I don't think it always comes naturally to me, so I need to try harder. I'd also like to make more friends. Maybe more mommy friends for play dates. And losing this baby belly pooch would be pretty awesome too, but I'm not going to aim too high.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Me! And a friend had a baby boy a few weeks after me.

4. Did anyone close to you die? Jeff's grandfather died in early March.

5. What countries did you visit? I think it will be a long time before I'm visiting any foreign countries.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011? More caffeine! I gave up coffee because it seemed to be affecting Mia's sleep, and I miss it so. This spring, when I finish breastfeeding, I am going to be an incredibly caffeinated woman!

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? March 28th - Mia's birthday. Every other date pales in comparison.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Aside from carrying, birthing and keeping Mia alive, I would say it was breastfeeding. It was so hard for us at first. I thought about quitting many times, but I'm so so glad I didn't.

9. What was your biggest failure? Not making sure Mia took a bottle. It's not so bad now that she only nurses 4 times a day, but it sure would have meant a lot more freedom a few months ago.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Injury in the sense that I had a c-section, and it really fucking hurt. I did not heal as well or as quickly as I would have liked. I was essentially bed ridden for about 2 weeks, and in quite a bit of pain for 6 weeks.

11. What was the best thing you bought? A new car to replace Jeff's 11 year-old Nissan. I was the one driving it at the end and Lord, was I embarrassed by it. It sounded like a diesel truck, the power windows and locks were broken, it made a loud knocking sound with every sharp left turn etc, etc, etc. Second best thing we bought was a new washer and dryer to replace those that I believe may have been original to our house. Which was built in 1954.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Jeff's. During the 2 weeks after Mia was born he had to take care of all 3 of us, and he just... DID IT. I don't think I changed a single diaper for the first several days. In the hospital while he brushed and blow dried my hair for me, and I thought, "This is love."

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Jerry Sandusky & Bernie Fine

14. Where did most of your money go? The mortgage.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Mia!

16. What song will always remind you of 2011? probably Adele - Someone Like You or Chris Brown - Look at Me Now or Florence & The Machine's Dog Days Are Done. We listened to those songs a lot in our house.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Happier! Oh so happy.
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner.
c) richer or poorer? Richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? The only thing I can think to say is "sleep," but what difference would it make to me now if I had slept more? Maybe I wish I'd exercised more?

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? I guess I wish I'd nagged less.

20. How did you spend Christmas? In Buffalo with Jeff's family.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011? I fell so in love with my girl, and so much more in love with her amazing dad.

22. What was your favorite TV program? Probably The Good Wife. It's the one I am most excited to watch every week, and one of the few that Jeff and I both enjoy. But, let's be honest, I'm also excited when there's a new episode of The Real Housewives of Wherever in my DVR. And Top Chef, I love Top Chef.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No, can't say that I do.

24. What was the best book you read? I burned through The Hunger Games series. I also loved Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones. And Bossypants was hilarious.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? I knew of Adele before this year, but her music had never moved me the way her new album has.

26. What did you want and get? A healthy, fiesty little girl.

27. What did you want and not get? I wanted my stomach to magically shrink back to how it looked when I was 16 and for my stretch marks to disappear overnight. I'm still waiting.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? I think I watched like 3 movies this whole year. We cancelled out Netflix account because we were basically donating $15 dollars to them every month, and we haven't seen a movie in the theaters all year.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 29. We went out to dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant. Then the following weekend my family came, and we had cupcakes and Thai food.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Hmm... Maybe if Mia had slept through the night from day one? It's been pretty damn satisfying other than the lack of sleep.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011? Yoga pants, sweat pants, and pajama pants, all covered in spit up.

32. What kept you sane? Jeff.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Josh Charles

34. What political issue stirred you the most? The legalization of gay marriage in New York state. (Stirred in a good way)

35. Who did you miss? I miss my family so so so much. They aren't that far away (and obviously I saw them tons this year), but I yearn to live close to them. I daydream of living so close that we could just pop over for a random weeknight dinner or have my mom babysit anytime we want. Someday?

36. Who was the best new person you met? Mia.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011. I learned that I am a lot stronger and a lot more patient than I thought I was.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
I can't come up with one, and I don't feel like putting off posting this until I do.

Monday, December 19, 2011

On Having One's Head up One's Own Ass

Forgive me for being crass, but is anyone else's husband's head lodged up their own rectum like mine is?

The other night he came home from work late where I was sitting on the couch with a glass of wine watching House Hunters. It was the last part of the show where they reveal which house the people chose, and there's really no point in watching the show unless you get to see those last 4 minutes. Jeff sits down and says, "Is there anything to watch? Anything DVRed? Was there a new episode of -" Um, I am sitting here actively WATCHING something. THIS is what's on. Just because you worked late doesn't mean I sit here in silence with the TV off waiting for you to come home to begin having any fun.

Then later I got in bed while he was in the bathroom brushing his teeth, washing his face, resolving the national debt (I don't know what he does in there for so long). He comes in to the bedroom where I've got the covers pulled up to my head. I yawn and say "I'm so tired," when he decides now would be a good time to launch into a story about work. One of those stories where he has to explain each character and each technical term he's using "You know, Dave? The one I told you about yesterday with the thing and the stuff. You know! Dave! He's tall and -". No, I don't know Dave, and unless Dave has just died and left his millions to you, this story can wait until tomorrow. I'm going to sleep. He said "well, your light was on." Yes, I left the light on so that you wouldn't have to blindly stumble to bed in the dark. Wasn't that nice of me?

Why do men seem to have such a hard time reading pretty blatant social clues sometimes? I remember thinking that all the time in college. When a guy would like me and I wouldn't want to hurt his feelings, so I'd just ignore him (uh, because THAT never hurts anyone's feelings), but he would just KEEP at it... But come to think of it, I kind of did that with Jeff, and look where that got him, so this point is clearly going nowhere.

But then I remembered why I put up with it this morning while watching the news about someone who was trapped in an elevator for 41 hours.

Me: 41 hours?!??

Him: That's like your dream come true. You'd come out of there after 41 hours the most well-rested woman in the world. People would be asking "How did you stay in there for 41 hours?" and you'd say "How did you stay out HERE for 41 hours?"

Me: True. I'd probably be passed out in the floor after 5 minutes.

He knows me too well. Sometimes solitary confinement sounds like heaven.

Friday, December 16, 2011

What's Cookin': Holiday Treats

Here is where I am about to publish a super secret family recipe (it's not really secret, I'm pretty sure it's just that no one has ever asked). Every Christmas my family makes chocolate covered cherries. These are not your gross, goopy boxed cherry cordials from Rite-Aid. And they are not the maraschino cherries just dipped in melted chocolate some lazy people like to pass off as chocolate covered cherries (I mean, I guess those ARE technically chocolate covered cherries too, they're just not really worth putting in your mouth after you've had these). These are the real deal. They are out of this world, and probably 3000 calories just for one little bite, but that's how every good holiday treat should be, right?

Chocolate Covered Cherries

2 16 oz. jars of maraschino cherries with stems

For the filling:
1/3 c. butter, softened
7 1/2 oz. jar of Marshmallow Fluff
3 - 3 1/2 c. powdered sugar

For the chocolate coating:
2 - 3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 T. shortening

Cream the butter in an electric mixer. Add in Fluff and beat until combined. Gradually add in powdered sugar until the dough is stiff and sticky. You may have to hand knead it to get all the sugar integrated into the dough. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Drain cherries. I set up two cookie sheets covered with wax paper to put the cherries on after they are covered. Break off small balls of dough, flatten with fingers and wrap around cherry. You may want to dip your fingers in powdered sugar between cherries if the dough starts to get too sticky to work with.

Once I've filled a cookie sheet I'll pop it in the fridge to keep the dough stiff. If it gets too warm it will fall right off the cherries when you go to dip them in the chocolate.

Melt the chocolate and shortening in a double boiler over simmering water. Coat cherries in chocolate. I use a big spoon, take a scoop of melted chocolate, then roll the cherry around in it and repeat. (I couldn't get a picture of this because it takes two hands and Jeff was at work).

Pop back in the refrigerator until the chocolate is hardened. Then blow co-workers and neighbors away with your talent in the kitchen. (Keep refrigerated).

Secondly: Spinach Artichoke Dip or The Best Damn Dip in All the Land. Seriously, this dip is crack. My family asks me to make it for every occasion. Lord, I can't even express how good it is.

The recipe is here. It is from Cooking Light, but I doubt it is really all that light. I mean, there are 2 bricks of cream cheese in it. I don't care if one of them is 1/3 less fat, that can't be good for you. The only modifications I make are that I use the whole package of spinach, not half, mainly because I didn't catch that part the first time I made it and dumped the whole thing in, and it worked, so I just do that every time. And I mix all the cheese in with the dip. I don't save any to sprinkle on top, because I found that it just makes an impenetrable layer on top that breaks your chips and crackers. No one wants that.

I also did some baking this week. I made this Eggnog Pound Cake, which was easy and good and used up the rest of a quart of egg nog I had tempting me from the fridge.

Then I made these Deep Dark Chocolate Cookies which I thought would be a party in my mouth, but they were a bit bitter, even for me, someone who loves dark chocolate. If I were going to make them again I would still use the bittersweet melted chocolate in the dough, but I think I'd use semi-sweet chips for that extra 1/2 c. that gets added at the end.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Craftiness

I like DIY home improvement projects, but I don't really think of myself as particularly crafty. The idea of scrapbooking or making my own Christmas ornaments or anything small scale like that appeals to my DIY/artistic side, but when I get right down to it, it's not for me. I run out of patience and the craft never comes out looking like it should. It always ends up looking like a kindergartner with unmedicated ADD did it.

I bought Christmas stockings for myself and Jeff a few years ago with our initials on them, but when I went back to buy another one, they no longer had the same ones. I really wanted them all to be the same, and I like fairly plain stockings, no animals or angels or glitter. Of course I couldn't find anything like that. So I came across this picture on pinterest (which came from Cottage Instincts)(Gah, that mantel is gorgeous!) and I thought, duh, I could make my own personalized stockings with some cheap plain stockings and some wooden letters.

So I did.

Cheap plain stockings, which ended up not being that cheap,
because I really wanted white or beige and apparently that's unheard of!

Not-so-cheap plain stockings with wooden letter (both from JoAnn Fabrics) which I spray painted silver

I decided to just glue the letters on with hot glue because figuring out a way to attach them, as cute as it looks, might be above my level of craftiness, and I feared would end up looking, quite frankly, like shit.

Then Jeff thought they were TOO plain and suggested adding some snowflakes. (Look at him being more crafty than me!)

So I did.

And I'm really happy with how they turned out, even if from across the room the snowflakes look a bit like the Star of David. We're multicultural up in this house.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


This guy turns 28 today.

27 has always been his lucky number. He declared that 27 would be his year.

On his birthday last year he won $300 on a lottery ticket from his parents.

I would say that's a good start.

Between December 7, 2010 and today he finished his master's degree, had his first child, and started a new job with a significant increase in pay. This year he got a new car, two new bikes and won several bike races. I don't know that it can get more monumental than that. I mean, having Mia was enough to make this the best year of MY life, forget all the other stuff.

Hopefully it's not all downhill from here!

Happy birthday to the most patient, hardworking, handsome guy I know and the only guy who will put up with my shit. May 28 be just as awesome as 27!