Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Fun with the Z

Old Navy = playground.


Squinty smiles.

Trying to get her suction bowl off the table.

She carried this purse around for like an hour.

Wagon at school - guess who's getting a wagon for her birthday?

Happy bye-byes at school.

First doggy kisses!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, September 26, 2011

Big Cooking Day #2

This Sunday we did the following:

Garlicky Cream Corn
Quinoa with Carrots and Sugar Snap Peas
Stephanie's Goulash
Grilled Chicken Breasts
Mashed Potatoes
Rosemary Shrimp (without the red pepper flakes)

The Aftermath

The shrimp and half the mashed potatoes got eaten last night.  I'd estimate the the rest is at least 3, maybe 4 meals worth!

Oh, and I also baked chocolate chip cookies. :-)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, September 23, 2011

Zoë's 11th Month in Pics

I just looked at the blog and realized I haven't been posting pics, bad girl!  So hold onto your hats for a million pics!

Daddy, what's that on your face?
 The following TON are from a day at the park.  Z-dog loooooves the park!

Snot bubble!

Walking with Daddy.
Pics from Galveston really didn't turn out too terribly interesting. I've got a ton of other pics, but once I DL them from my phone... well.... they're probably never getting posted.  Such is life!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Big Cooking Days

So I've been trying something the last few weeks: big weekend cooking days.

Basically on Sunday my goal is to get either the cooking or just the prep done for several meals through the week.  A typical week's dinners look like this:  Sunday-Wednesday: stuff at home, Thursday: leftovers, Friday: out, Saturday: ?  What I find is that the tolerance for cooking dips exponentially the farther into the week we get, so I try to head that off at the pass, hence the Big Cooking Day.

Lately I've been trying to start off the Big Cooking Day with a slow cooker recipe.  My mom gave me a good creamy Italian chicken recipe that P and I both like, and that yields lots of leftovers.  I grabbed a recipe book at work the other week and tried beans.  I liked them, but they didn't really go over well with P, so that one'll not make a reappearance.  Then last week I found this blog entry and wanted to try her recipes, thinking that I'll get double out of my Big Cooking Day if I can freeze half!  I tried the Barbecue Chicken recipe, and we loooooved it!  I am especially excited because P actually ate bell peppers and zucchini and didn't complain.  He even tipped the bowl up at the end to drink the rest of the sauce.  WINNING!!  I followed the recipe closely, but substituted 15oz can of tomato sauce instead of 8oz, and I didn't use the tapioca.  I'm sure that made my sauce runnier, but it didn't bother either of us.  When I try it again, I may even use more chicken.  For us, the half of the recipe that I didn't freeze was only enough for 1 night's dinner for P and me and a bit for Z, with no leftovers at all.  We used it as a stand-alone meal.  I think if I added another pound or so of chicken, it'd still fit well into the crockpot, and we'd have leftovers for Thursday night.  I could also easily add another sweet potato or 3, because they turned out hella YUMMY.

This past Big Cooking Day, I rounded off my activities by baking my favorite blueberry oatmeal muffins (substituting regular milk for buttermilk, and no nuts, and chop the blueberries in a processor before adding) and making my favorite maple marinade for some salmon.  P made garlic corn and we had it and the salmon for dinner that night and the barbecue chicken on Monday.  We'll probably do frozen pizza tonight, then I'll pick up some fresh carrots at the Farmer's Market on Wednesday and we'll do quinoa (no water, substitute the stock every time it calls for water) and P will grill some chicken, then we'll have the rest of that and the remainder of the corn for leftovers on Thursday.

I really like the Big Cooking Days on Sunday.  I'm still refining the planning and trying to make the most of it, but who can argue with a slow cooker going all day, baking, and grilling - exploiting all my options!  The quinoa would actually also be a good one to add on Sundays... I'd probably have kept cooking, but I ran out of clean measuring utensils.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I'm Naked!!

Not like that. :-Þ  I've forgotten my phone today, sheesh!

But I really miss the goober.  Not only is it my phone, so it makes me feel safe on the long commute in case of trouble, but it is also my mobile toy, keeping me occupied during breaks and lunch and while I wait for people to show up to meetings, and it is my lifeline, providing a contact number for daycare in case something happens with the Z.

But daycare has other numbers.  And I work in a building FILLED with books - I should be able to find some way to occupy my brain at lunch today!

In the meantime, I'll just get back to researching wagons to get the Z for her birthday, and be extra careful not to forget my phone tomorrow.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where I Was

I normally don't indulge in these types of posts.  They make me sad, for one, and for another, I question their relevance - sometimes they seem just like self-indulgance.  But this one, this one I'm writing for my daughter.

Dear Zoë,

There are a few things in your life that you'll remember - that will truly stick with you.  Moments in time.  There is your wedding day, and the birth of your child.  And unfortunately, there are the tragedies.  I've got 3.  3 tragedies that will always stick with me - one for every decade I lived.  When I was little, in Kindergarten, the Challenger.  And in my first year of college, the Aggie Bonfire collapse.  And when I was only a little older, September 11th.  Some day I'll write about each of these experiences for you but today on the 10th anniversary of September 11th, I'll write about it.

I woke up on the morning of September 11, 2001 and headed to a 9am class - I think it was an anthropology or archaeology class...  At the time I lived in the Rio Grande apartment in Austin with Emily on top of the pizza joint - my balcony faced the Tower to the east.  I don't remember anything special about that morning.  The class was 9-11am, and then I headed over to the stadium to pick up my wristband for the Texas-OU ticket lottery.  I remember noticing a crowd of people standing watching a TV, one of those TVs that is mounted above a concession stand so that you don't miss the game while you're buying food.  I thought that was weird, but hurried by as I was headed to another class.  This is where my memory gets hazy.  I got there and was surprised at how few people were in class.  The professor never showed, so I waited the requisite 15 minutes and then headed back to the apartment, again noticing how few people were around campus, and thinking it odd.  When I got back, Emily and her boyfriend were planted in front of the TV, and that's how/when I found out.

I planted myself right next to them for the next several days, leaving only to sleep and go to classes, almost all of which were cancelled when I arrived.  I have a strong memory of Dr. Armstrong coming into my Latin class with a 2 line ode, taking about 5 minutes to translate it with us while obviously holding back tears, and then abruptly striding out.  I remember how eerily quiet it was in the days following with no people out and about and no airplanes in the sky.  I remember this irrational fear that we could be in danger, blocks away from the capitol building - I now think that probably everyone in big cities felt that fear - no one really knew what was happening, and if there were going to be more attacks.  And I distinctly remember the first time I heard an airplane in the sky again and how *wrong* and scary it felt.

I can't tell you when things went back to normal, because I don't think they ever really did.  I don't live my life in fear the way I did in the weeks following.  But I remember a carefree time before 9/11, and I don't think that ever really came back.

I didn't know anyone who died that day.  But when I read the stories of those who died, or the stories of the loved ones who survived, my heart breaks for the people who were there and their families.  No one can ever lessen the impact of what happened - of the hole that was ripped into the fabric of so many lives.  I look at you, my sweet baby, and cannot imagine the gut-wrenching loss.

But I also look at you and I hope for peace.  You and all babies are the epitome of how people should be - open, trusting, caring, curious, inquisitive, and peaceful.  In my heart I believe that these qualities you demonstrate are the core of every human being, and all the hate and anger and strife are learned behaviors that we can all rise above.  I wish you a world filled with enlightened, intelligent, peaceful people, where the memory of this tragedy lives on as a lesson of the dire consequences we face as individuals and as a society when we allow negative emotions to overpower us.  I wish for you a world in which you don't have one tragedy per decade to remember to your little one.

In the meantime, it's a big world out there - be safe.

Love always and forever,

Friday, September 9, 2011

Whatever Happened to My Lunchbox?

Whatever happened to my lunchbox?
When came the day 
That it got thrown away?
And don't you think I should have had some say
In that decision?
--John Mayer 

One of the things I did while on vacation was sort through (some of) a giant stack of boxes of my childhood that my loving parents delivered recently.

There was all kinds of crazy crap in there: my cast from when I broke my arm in 5th grade, my first earring (one of two), music, books, and a boatload of china dolls.

Preston and I were talking and it seems like every kid has something that they collect.  Both of us hoped our collections would be worth something some day... he collected comic books, and I collected china dolls.  I had a ton, and some of them were really beautiful.  I never played with them, because they were a collection - they lived up on a high shelf that ran the length of my room, to be looked at but rarely touched.  (My rules/choice, not my parents'.)

Anyways, when I left for college, a large part of my old room was still intact, including the dolls.  When my parents sold that house, they packed it all up and moved it to the barn at the farm.  And now it is migrating back into my life.

It's a funny thing that happens to you when you go through stuff like that.  There is always a pervading, "Gosh, we saved a lot of JUNK!"  Which is always followed (in my head) with a, "I wonder how much money I could have now if I hadn't wasted all of it!"  But then you react emotionally to things, too.  Saving that cast.  Saving a bundle of letters that my parents/grandparents/friends sent to me at band camp one year - it's like a snapshot in time!  Cried over my Granny's letters and saved ALL of them.  But the most surprising thing to me was my indignation at how my parents stored those dolls.  It looked like they had just tossed them into boxes, then they didn't even tape the boxes up to keep out stuff, then when they stored them in the barn they got spiders, RATS, etc all up in them.

I am grateful that my parents love me enough to have saved so many artifacts from my childhood.  Sometimes I wish they hadn't when I am struggling with an emotional attachment that is preventing me from throwing away an item that I had completely forgotten the existence of until I opened a dirty box.  Or when my hamstrings are still sore A WEEK LATER from bending over to open/try to vacuum all the crud off the dolls...  Or when they boxed them up with such a lack of care that I have to see my once-prized possessions in the middle of a rat's next made from their stuffing - that's just not how I want to remember them.

Righteous indignation: wandering around grumbling that I'll never do that to the Z.  (Ha, we'll see.)

On Considering a Second, Update

It isn't my period. (Unless it is my period plus food poisoning, or my period with puking as a symptom...)

I threw up this morning, which you could stack up to morning sickness or food poisoning.  So still no tie-breaker on the potential pregnancy issue.

I'm tempted to take another test on Sunday, if I can make myself wait that long.  In the meantime, I'm scared to eat and still queasy.

Weight this morning: 130.6.  Oh, what a little hurl won't do to bring me almost to goal weight, cruel irony!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

On Considering a Second, Part Deaux

Subtitled: "The Pregnancy Scare".

So let's just say that it is possible that I'm pregnant.  If I'm pregnant, I'd be about, oh, say exactly a week-and-a-half pregnant.

TMI warning: I have not had a period since having the Z.  So there is no way to know if I'm fertile, and there is no period to "miss" to indicate pregnancy to me.

Things that make me think I'm pregnant: I've been super moody the past few days (not normal at this level), I'm tired (so tired I could hardly pry my eyes open this morning), I'm crampy/nauseous today, I have been more sore than I should be from opening boxes/working out for longer than I should be, I *feel* pregnant, all these "symptoms" are exactly as I felt with Zoë.

Things that make me think I'm not pregnant: I could be moody because I'm getting my period back, I could be tired because I'm returning to 6 hrs of sleep from a vacation of 9 hrs a night, I could be crampy because I'm starting my period or because I ate something bad, *feeling* pregnant is just a weird mental thing, I am lacking one symptom (sore boobs) that I felt with Zoë, and I've noticed no change in my milk supply, I took a pregnancy test yesterday morning and it was negative (But I think it might be too early??).

All this really brought around the debate over having a second.  I was actually settling into a phase of being totally satisfied with only having 1 and not wanting a second, oh the irony!  Let me start by saying that it is ok if I'm preggo.  It would be an "accident", but a happy one.  But when I realized that I thought I might be, I had frantic thoughts about how totally irresponsible we were for not thinking this through more!  I mean, we have the Z to think about now, we aren't just having another baby for ourselves, she's going to be forever affected by our decisions as well, and we just did what we did and might be what we might be now.  Crazy/heavy stuff.

All of the advantages/disadvantages of having 2 and timing and all that from my previous post (which, btw, was totally hormone-fueled, because it subsided eventually) still stand.  This is really just about the mental uncertainty that a pregnancy "scare" can really bring to the surface for me.  I wish I knew for sure.  I'll test again in a week or so (or I'll get my period), and we'll know for sure.  But this limbo is crazy-making.  Crazy-making!

If we aren't pregnant now, I still haven't swung one way or the other on the Great Considering a Second Debate.  This experience has changed nothing, as far as that goes.  Which may mean that any/all babies born into my family need to be happy accidents, because I don't know if you truly can ever logic your way into a baby!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Goal Review

August Goals:

1.  I really want to get to the 5 days per week of working out; just as much as I wanted it back in June!  I think with the baby it just isn't happening for me.  It is ok if it doesn't.  And if I have to set the goal at 5 days to get my actual performance to 4, then so be it.  5 days a week is my dream.  4 is my slightly more reasonable expectation.

Nix on both of those: First I thought I broke my toe, and that cost me a week.  Then I took a vacation!  And I'm not sorry for that.

2.  This month I really truly want to focus on core.

Nope: I did really really well for the first week, then messed up my toe (did you know how many core exercises require your toe?) and got off track, then vacationed... la la la...

Informal goals: I want to make significant progress on the house this month. 

Some success on this one!  Preston is almost (FINALLY) done with the upstairs floor - I think (hope, pray) that he'll finish this week.  We had a contractor come over to give us an estimate on all the work we want done.  And on vacation we really stayed home and cleaned/tidied/worked quite a bit.  Quite pleased on this front.

Weight on August 1 was 133.  Weight September 1 was 132.4.  Slow month, but that wasn't unexpected, with everything that went on.

September goals:

1.  Get back to it, really.  My vacation swung into September, so any type of quantitative goal is probably out the window.  I have made a goal of running a 5 miler on Thanksgiving morning.  That gives me 2.5(ish) months to basically double my mileage.  That shouldn't be rocket science, but it will require me to be more devoted to running than I have been.  I started with yesterday morning's run - 2.5 miles, no walk breaks.  I didn't run this morning because I'm all kinds of sore from yesterday (that's what a lay-off will do to me!), but I did stationary bike for recovery.  Going to run again tomorrow morning.  And I need to start finding a way to do a weekend "long" run - I just can't run much farther than 3ish miles right now in the morning unless I want to get up EVEN EARLIER than 3:30.  Hint: I don't.

2.  Get some core work in.

3.  This is my last month of full-time breastfeeding/pumping!  Halla-freaking-luyah!  Prepare for some weaning.

Informal goals:  More working on the house.  Finish the upstairs completely.  Hopefully hire a contractor and get started downstairs.  Get the Z's birthday party planned.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Dear Blogger

It's been a while!  Why?  Not because I don't love you any more, but because I WENT ON VACATION!!!

Sort of.

I really went to Galveston for a weekend and then cleaned my home for a week, but still!

So I've obviously got a lot to catch you up on, so we'll do several posts of various redux.  For now, my morning run recap:  I RAN!!!!!

Hurricane Lee (or Tropical Storm??) made landfall in Louisiana on Friday.  We got NO RAIN (in the middle of the worst drought in history, and now practically the entire state in on fire), but lots of wind, and MIRACLE OF MIRACLES, somehow Lee allowed our first "cold front" of the year to come on down.  Lowering the temps a miraculous 10 degrees from hot-as-hell to simply really-freaking-hot.  Or in layman's terms, from over 100 degrees to in the 90's.  I know, genius, right?  But here's the real kicker: it lowered our morning temps from a not-so-fun-to-run-in 80+ degrees to a FREAKING BRILLIANT 70- degrees.  I'll take it!!

So this morning I went for a run.  My thermometer said 67.  AWESOME.  It truly was a lovely temp.  Really nice.  And un-humid.

But it was kind of a funky run.  As I was still walking my warm-up, I started being shadowed by a creepy moron in a gray/champagne SUV.  And it had to be on purpose, because I was walking down a hill, and let's face it, cars don't even IDLE that slow.  When we got to the stop sign, I glanced over to see if there was a turn signal (none) before I crossed the street.  Right as I got to the other side, the idiot made a left turn and hit the curb/stop sign.  Moron.  I started running.  Because let's face it, I'm not being a Good Samaratin to an idiot who is probably drunk and just drove FROM A STOP into a stop sign after creepily stalking me all the way down the street.  Not gonna happen.

So my run started off with a bang (crash), and I was out of breath from the mild freak-out I was having from the stalking.  And then I was trying to figure out my route and if I needed to change it to something less obvious from the direction I was heading when the idiot last saw me.  It was sucky.

Then I ran by a skunk.  I managed not to tick him off (yay, me!), but first time I've seen one of those in the neighborhood.

Ran 2.5 miles straight (Yay, go me!!!), saw the skunk again on my way back, debated changing routes to avoid idiot-intersection, didn't, idiot wasn't there, got home.  Because of the wildfires it felt like I was running with a smoker (the kind you cook meat in, not the human kind with a death wish) right next to me: I could smell it, taste it, feel it in my lungs.  Not cool.  But still not complaining because of the lovely cool temps, and the overall success of the no-walking run after a little 2 week lay-off.