Thursday, December 29, 2011

Closing the book on 2011

Photos from 2011

This has been an epic year for our family.  When I went back to work last January after Christmas and New Years,  after having a little email battle with my boss because I refused to keep working for free, I knew I needed to get out of that situation.  My husband and I started dabbling with the idea of moving to another city.  My husband brushed up his resume and we started talking about what cities we'd like to check out.  We submitted his resume to a few jobs and he ended up interviewing for 3 jobs in Austin.  After getting all three job offers in late March, my husband signed his new contract and I turned in my letter of resignation on April 1.  

In the end of April my husband left for San Antonio where had to complete 8 weeks of training.  I stayed in FL and prepared for our move and got our home ready to rent.  In May I flew to Austin and my husband I found a place to live and checked out the city together.  We ate in SoCo, walked around Zilker, and drove around for 3 days looking at homes, apartments and condos.

In late June we moved into our place and were a family again.  Part of me was freaked out at my new "job" as a SAHM in a new city.  Every time I tried to drive somewhere, I was lost and irritated.  The heat was unbearable and I thought we'd made a mistake.  After a few weeks I met some AMAZING friends all with kids Mimi's age.  I feel so fortunate to have met these ladies.  They started including me in all their outings and activities.

We spent the rest of summer and fall getting settled into our new apt, swimming, and eating and exploring our way through Austin.  I continued to run, sew, and work on my dissertation while being able to be with Mimi fulltime.  I can't believe how amazing it is and what a privilege it is.

We spent both Thanksgiving and Christmas at home to keep things low key and save money.  Everyday my husband and I remark on how happy our lives are in Austin.  We both love our "jobs" and our new city.  It was a big transition, a lot of time, money, and work to get here.

In 2012 our goals are to continue to save $ and live on a budget, get my dissertation done, and work on a baby brother or sister for Mimi.  Probably in that order.  I'm excited for what this new year will bring.

I'm finishing off this year feeling blessed, happy, settled, and amazed at how happy I could really be.  Thanks to all of my readers for following me on this journey!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Blah Kind of Day

Sometimes I have these days where I kind of feel sorry for Mimi.  Those days where the most exciting thing we do is go to the grocery store.  This morning after dropping my husband at work, Mimi and I filled up the car and hit super Walmart. Part of me thinks you can save money on a lot of grocery items from Walmart, but you also get sucked into buying a lot of impulse sale stuff too.  Somehow I went home with a giant tub of penguin foam stickers and mint chocolate scented handsoap in a snowman soap dispenser.  There's $5 I'll never see again....I tried to do enough shopping for 7 square meals.  I also loaded us up on fruits, cheeses, and other healthy snacks like pretzels, hummus, yogurt etc.   I did buy a few pricier things like almond flour ($9 for a lb but it's $12 at the normal grocery store), and dryel for our wool sweaters.  My whopping total was $150! WTF?  I have to remind myself that we don't do the CSA right now, so that's an extra $32 on top of the $80 I normally give myself.  I also bought household items which are budgeted separately, bus still....$150!?  Hopefully this will stretch us a week and a half.

Meals I have planned:
Meatloaf w/ veggies
Stuffed peppers and salad
Pumpkin soup with Chicken
Roasted Red Pepper Soup
Spaghetti squash with cheese and sauce
Salmon Patties with Veggies and Salad
Pasta with Clam Sauce

Lately we've reduced our carb/grain consumption BIG TIME.  I still have things like pretzels, granola bars, pancakes etc for Mimi, but Momma and Papa are pretty low on carbs these days.  We only eat pasta once a week now and we measure out our portions.  I feel amazing.  I feel full all day, I have tons of energy to run, and I'm losing 2-3 lbs a week.  

Other than my big spendy grocery trip I've felt really blah all day.   Other than the grocery store and walking the dog Mimi and I have played inside all day.  I let her pretend to be hairdresser on my hair (ouch), she pretended she was my doctor with her new doctor kit, she did 5 preschool pages in her workbook and kept begging for more (yes!).

Something positive is that Mimi is on day 4 without diapers (minus nighttime).  She had one accident a day for the first two days, and now she's seems do be doing really well.  I basically take her to a bathroom wherever we are every 45 minutes to an hour even if she says she doesn't have to go.  I'm hoping that in a few days, I'll have to do less of that and she'll go do it more on her own.  We have her bathroom set up so she can reach and do everything, and I've been dressing her in clothes that are easy for her to get off herself.  Hopefully by the time she starts part time preschool next week she'll be 100% potty trained.  She is refusing to poop though.  Kind of weird, but I'm sure she'll go eventually.  Ah the joys of parenting.

That's all I got today peeps.  I'm going to go drink my 3rd cup of coffee and motivate myself to do dissertation work. Peace out.
I'm not going to lie, I want another one of these really badly........Mimi @ 2 weeks old.......

Sunday, December 25, 2011

One of our traditions

We're the outdoorsy types.  Before we had kids every Christmas my husband and I would do some sort of outdoor hiking adventure.  Mimi's first Christmas lacked this tradition due to visiting family and the overwhelming joy of my child's "first" iconic Christmas.  Her second lacked this tradition due to my knee surgery on Dec 16.  This year, having no visiting family, or desire to travel, we resurrected our hike tradition.

We had been wanting to go to Enchanted rock for awhile.  Our original intention was to camp there this holiday weekend, but the rain and cold temperatures scared us out of that adventure.  We did the next best thing and packed up our Subaru this morning right after breakfast and headed out to Llano Texas to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area.  It was a 2 hour drive from Austin, especially after having to stop midway to replace a windshield wiper blade (somewhat important on this rainy day) and for one emergent potty stop, which proved successful as Mimi has gone 2 days without diapers now (this enthusiasm I'll save for another post).

We got to the park and decided that Mimi, being quite the outdoor enthusiast herself, could most definitely hike Summit Trail, a 6/10 of a mile climb to um....the summit.  Despite being 2 1/2 years old, Mimi did really well.  Only a few tired tears on our climb down.  Understandably, as it was past naptime and the child climbed 6/10 of a mile up a mountain (well large rock) almost entirely unaided by her momma and poppa.

Here's some photos from the hike.  It was cold and rainy but we still had an AMAZING time.

On our way home we drove through Fredericksburg TX, which deserves and outing of its own for sure. Such a quaint town full of fun shops.  We stopped at an icecream parlor/bakery and had some sugar cookies and cocoa before headed home.

We had red clam sauce and pasta for dinner and put our darling girl to bed, who was too tired to indulge in a traditional Christmas movie :-( but there's always next year.  Now it's 1:30 am, so it's actually Christmas.  Laying out the gifts for Mimi (on the couch because we never got around to getting a tree), was one of the most special moments I've had.  Creating the magic of Christmas for my child was something I looked forward to before I even had kids.  My husband and I stood back and looked at the gifts we bought her and the ones for family and just felt so blessed at how much love there is for our little girl.  We're so lucky and so blessed, and I won't take that for granted!

I hope wherever you are, whomever you're with, you have a great holiday.  God bless you and I hope today is magical for you.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Broken Rules

Tonight I broke one my cardinal parenting rules. Never wake a sleeping baby.

We had a friend call us shortly after 8 and tell us that there was this cool candle-lit walk/Christmas light display thingy going on in our neighborhood tonight.  I had just gotten Mimi out of the bath and snuggled in bed.  She was already fast asleep with visions of yoyos in her head (I'll explain that later).  

My first parenting instinct was "oh well too bad Mimi's asleep." Then I thought....  
Jesus Jen live a little.  
I got out the BOB, reclined the seat, husband and I bundled up, and we plucked Mimi from her cozy bed.  We bundled her in the stroller, leashed up our dog mr. buddy and set out on a late night walk armed with the camera and some hot beverages. I mean it was 44 degrees out, and to us southern peeps THAT'S COLD.  

For the first 20 minutes Mimi was snoring away wrapped in a fleece blanket and fleece hat. Then WHAM, I hit a curb funny and she woke up and said "ut oh momma I fall out."  Man if I was her, and I had been asleep cozy in my bed and someone moved me from my bed, took me outside in the cold, and I woke up in a bumpy stoller I would be freaked the hell out. She was excited.  She loved the Christmas lights.  When I was little my dad would take us out at night near Christmas and tell us to look for Rudolph's nose.  Funny, because I don't have a lot of nice memories of my dad, but his was one that just snuck up on me tonight.

We all enjoyed our walk.  Impromptu, out of character, cold, and fun.  I need to live more.  It's little things like this that someday the memories will sneak up on Mimi and she'll smile and remember how we took her out in the middle of night to look for Rudolph.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mamma I want Pancakes

For one reason or another, my chubbster toddler has not been very hungry lately.  The child that used to eat as if she was filling a hollow leg, has become a little snacker, sustaining herself on watererd-down grape juice and string cheese.  I'm really not worried per say, just wondering why the sudden changes in appetite.  She can communicate fairly well obviously, so she would tell me if she was "hungry" I suppose.  She's not sick, or losing weight.   So I offer three square meals a day plus two snacks, water, milk, and her watered-down juice and just let her eat what she wants.

Today she asked for pancakes.  Of course, the one day this week she asks for something to eat, I dont' have pancake mix.  I hit google and found Alton Brown's "Instant" pancake mix recipe on the food network and went to work.  A few weeks ago I discovered that if I let Mimi pick a shape for her pancakes, she would eat more of what I made her, causing much less soggy pancake waste after breakfast.  We have an array of holiday cookie cutters to choose from.  I of course try to get the Christmas themed cutters out, but today my girl wanted hearts.  I made a big batch of pancakes, cut her out two hearts and used the rest to make trees and baby circles which I froze on parchment paper for another morning.  You can even pop the frozen homemade ones in your toaster.

She devoured her heart-shaped pancakes and some berries and then we tackled the mess of our laundry room together.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Wasn't tagged but anyway....

Even though Jess Craig didn't tag me cause I'm a loser, I'm doing this tag anyway. So there.  I modified the rules because I can.

1. You must post these rules.
2. Each per­son must post 11 things about them­selves on their blog.
3. Answer the ques­tions the tag­ger set for you in their post, and cre­ate 11 new ques­tions for the peo­ple you tag to answer.
4. You have to choose 11 peo­ple to tag and link them on the post.
5. Go to their page and tell them you have linked him or her.
6. No tag backs.
7. No stuff in the tag­ging sec­tion about ‘you are tagged if you are read­ing this.’ You legit­i­mately have to tag 11 people.

11 Things About Me:
1. I never drank coffee until I wrote my masters thesis, now I'm an addict.
2. I've struggled with my weight since I was 12 or 13
3. I weight myself every morning.
4. I secretly want like 5 kids, ssshh don't tell my husband, he'll freak
5. I listen to Christmas music year around
6. I love sending hand written cards and letters
7. My favorite movie is probably match point
8. I'm a pretty good tennis player
9. I used to speak French.
10. I eat chocolate while I sew, a weird unbreakable habit
11. I love shopping for sheets and towels. Weird right?

QUESTIONS by Jess Craig-
1. If you could get paid really well to do what you totally love, what would it be? It could be anything!

To teach environmental science to budding young minds AND get to be with my kid(s).
2. Who is your celebrity crush?

Colin Firth
3. What is your dream car?

Maybe a Honda Pilot? Do I secretly want to be a smug soccer mom?  Maybe a huge Volvo wagon?
4. What do you wish you were better at?

Looking Glamourous 
5. What is your food weakness that you will over eat every single time?

6. What latest fashion do you hate and wish would just die?F*ing Skinny Jeans. Die Skinny Jeans
7. Your favorite iphone/andoid app?The one for my bank--so handy, so easy, so boring
8. What is the your most favorite website?oh man, so many, I love Gmaps Pedometer, Facebook, 
9. Your top 3 favorite stores to shop?Jcrew, Forever 21, REI
10. What was your favorite childhood toy?Mimi's handmade wooden alphabet puzzle, it's just classy and clean and fun
11. What really freaks you out/scares you?Cancer.

1. How did you meet your spouse?

2. Are only children weird?
3. How many times per day do you check facebook?
4. If you had to swim in a pool of one food, what would it be?
5. What is your favorite candy?
6. How many jackets do you own?
7. How did you find my blog?

8. What is something you always wanted to do, but are embarrassed to try?
9. Your biggest pet peeve?
10. What was your favorite childhood cartoon?
11. Worst nightmare?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Our Christmas Card

Now that I've mailed out most of Christmas cards I wanted to go ahead and share them with my blogger buds.  I asked Jess Craig a few weeks ago if she would be willing to throw together a quirky card for us if I provided a family photo.  We had this fun idea to create a "hipster" holiday card considering we do live in Austin, which is pretty much hipster central.  The only day we had to take this, it was rainy and dreary, with poor lighting and a cranky toddler.  We had to bribe Mimi with chocolates just to get her to wear her glasses and sit still for 10 seconds.  This photo was the only one that we all look decent and wasn't blurry.  My husband hadn't put his nice sweater on yet and was just testing the remote and tripod setup. Jess took a quasi decent picture, asked me a little of what I was looking for and in 2 days threw together EXACTLY what I wanted. We used IPhoto to print them and couldn't be more pleased with how they turned out. Thanks again Jess for your speedy hard work and creativity!  We'll certainly be asking her to do more stuff for us in the future!

Happy Holidays!

Enjoy some raw outakes....

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Little Ballerina

At Mimi's dance class, the parents are not allowed in the room on all dance class days.  We have a special waiting room with windows so we can observe the class, but not disrupt it.  I was so excited that today the teachers allowed us in the class for the second half.  My husband took the morning off to come with us (which he NEVER takes time off).  We had breakfast at Rudy's and made our way to the class.  It was raining all morning, so we were all kind of soggy and wet.

I love that Mimi enjoys this class.  I never had to force her to go in, or beg her to let go of my leg and go in the studio or any of that.  From day one in August, she was excited to wear her dance stuff, and excited to run in the studio and dance with her friends and teachers.   We'll definately keep this activity up until she asks to stop going.

I wanted to share a few photos of my chubby ballerina.  In the car on the way home she said "Momma Papa you proud of me!?" and I said "Yes Mimi! We couldn't be more proud!" She rode all the way home with the biggest smile on her little face.  God Bless my Mimi.

Forgive me for picture overload today....

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Getting to me

I'm not going to lie.  This whole EVERYBODY AND THEIR SISTER are pregnant business is kind of getting to me.  The good friend in me is genuinely happy for all my soon-to-be-moms-again friends.  I get warm and fuzzy tingles for all of them thinking of how happy they are expecting their 2nd babies.

Then there's the selfish side of me that has been wanting to have a baby for months now.  Please spare me the "you have baby fever" tag.  I don't want another baby because all my friends are having them, I've wanted another baby for awhile because I want to expand my own family.  Period.  I also don't think that it would be especially cool to be pregnant when EVERYONE else is.  Call me self centered but it's nice to be special and have your own moment in the sun.

The rational side of me knows that waiting a few more months is the right sane thing to do.  Hopefully in 2 or 3 months my dissertation will be done and I could enjoy some free time to myself.  Hopefully in 2 or 3 months I will have lost these last few stubborn pounds and reach my goal of running a 10K.  Hopefully in 2 or 3 months my husband will be amped to shoot for baby 2 instead of what he is now--apprehensive at how our lives will change and he'll have more demands on his time.

For now I'll just have to enjoy chasing after and teaching the little girl I do have.  The girl that has been screaming "Mammmmmmma! Mammmmma!" from her bedroom for the last 15 minutes because she doesn't want to go to bed.....

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cookie Fun!

One brave Mama had 10 or more toddlers over to her house today for a cookie decorating party---hahahha not this Mama!  We attended the party and gladly brought a case of juice boxes and enjoyed trashing playing at someone elses' house :-)

At the party I was sitting in a room with a few of my mom friends, and BOOM one mom says "well i'm expecting..." then another mom said "yeah me too!" and then a third "holy cow I"m pregnant too!" 3 NEW PREGNANCIES announced today!  Then my good friend pulled me aside privately and told me she just  found out she was pregnant but didn't want to go public yet. Holy crap people.  Add this to me already having two pregnant friends and one friend who delivered last week.... I'm so happy for all of them! I feel so much pressure now! lol

Anyway......enjoy some photos from the day...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Family Fun

It's only Saturday night but I've had such a fun weekend already!  Friday night when my husband got home from work we went to PTerry's and got burger's and fries (mmmmmm).  I don't eat a lot of meat, but every once in awhile I WANT A CHEESEBURGER.  Luckily, the entire family was up for it.  PTerry's had the coolest little sandbox on the patio, so Mimi ate half of her burger, which is great for a 2 year-old, and went off to play.  My husband and I actually got to eat in peace and talk to each other, CRAZY right!?  After dinner we didn't feel like going home so we went to an arcade.  When my husband first told me about the place last week I was thinking hmmm maybe this place isnt' really for kids.  I was pleasantly surprised.  It was clean and full of games that were great for Mimi like skeet ball and Whack a Mole, etc.  We got $10 in tokens and let Mimi direct us to the games she liked.  We had such a ball.  We all laughed and played for an hour or so.  Mimi even cashed in her tickets for prizes on the way out.

This morning my husband let me sleep in for about 30 extra blissful minutes.  I know what you're thinking, "geesh, your husband could have let you sleep longer!" I know right?!  If you knew my husband you'd agree with me that 30 minutes extra is awesome.   We had a great breakfast and I went to a craft show with my friend Bea for awhile.  When I got home we headed out to Zilker Park for a few hours for some outdoor exercise.  Mimi climbed the big rocks, our dog played and ran, we hiked the trail, we fed a swan some pirate's booty.....We stopped at a pretty cool coffee shop in SoCo afterwards and had lunch and coffee.

When we got home Mimi napped for 3 hours while I labelled Christmas cards and my husband rode his bike to the barber shop and got a haircut.  Later we shopped for beer and drinks for the Karaoke party tomorrow night.  I'm not going to lie, I really like Karaoke.  This is one of those private places where you rent a room with your friends so you only humiliate yourself in front of people who already think you're crazy.  I'm pumped.  The night will be complete with Cupcakes from Hey Cupcake! MMMMMM I can taste their blissful sweetness already.....

It's not even my birthday yet (well not for 2 more hours!) and I feel like I've had the best celebrations with my loved ones all weekend!

Here's some IPhone photos from today...

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Big 30 Soon

I think I'm bloggin as a way to avoid doing the work I know I should be doing.  You'll have to forgive me for posting old photos. Feeling a little nostalgia all up in here today.

What to blog about? How about the whole BIG 30 thing.  Yup. Jen is turning the big 30 on Sunday.  I used to laugh at people who had hangups about birthdays.  I used to think "Come on people it's just a birthday, we all get older"  I was totally fine with the fact that I was turning 30 until today when I was filling out this online form for something and It asked for my age.  I realized that in two days that number wasn't in the 20s anymore.

I don't feel any older really.  I've felt this "old" since I had Mimi. Something about going through a pregnancy, birth, nursing, general childrearing makes you feel (and look) "older" I think.  Maybe it is because most of us become less selfish after carrying and giving birth to another human being.  I feel like it's the ultimate grow up life lesson.
In the OR right after Mimi was born.  Damn I look hot.
Oh you wanted to shower?! Too bad baby needs nursing RIGHT NOW.
Oh you wanted to go out for happy hour with your friends!? Too bad babysitter is busy tonight.
Oh you wanted a new plasma TV?! Too bad, you have to buy that convertible carseat now.
Oh you want to look pretty and put together?! Too bad your kid just wiped sticky candycane on your pants. (true story in my house lately)
My two besties....

Seriously, having kids made me grow up, get my priorities in order, and be WAY less selfish.
It goes without saying that I wouldn't change my situation for ANYTHING.  I can totally rock the haven't showered today mom look.  Mimi and Franco are  my best friends.  I need to watch less TV anyway.  Maybe food stains are the new look?
When I was younger and thought about where I'd be when I was 30, which apparently according my husband men dont' think about....I wanted to be settled with a nice guy and have atleast one baby before 30.  I wanted to have finished school and have some sort of idea what I wanted to do with my life.  I feel like I'm pretty much there.  I feel so blessed to have met my husband early in my 20s.  I did  finish two of 3 college degrees, and I know that I want to enjoy whatever "job" I have in life.  What more can you ask for?

Today I laid in bed with Mimi before nap and tickled her and kissed her 1,000 times while she giggled and yelled "no more kisses momma!" and I thought, god, how could you ever top this feeling?  I feel truly blesses these days.