Thursday, December 29, 2011

Goals for the New Year


Another year is almost over! So much has changed, but it hardly feels like any time has passed at all since this time last year. It’s scary how quickly a year can pass, isn’t it? If you’re not careful, it can go by without accomplishing anything. Most of 2011 for me was consumed by pregnancy and all the planning, dreaming and doctor’s appointments that go along with it. My biggest goal for the year was to take care of myself and have a healthy baby, and I totally did that! It’s a big deal, so I’m patting myself on the back. Way to go, me!

I don’t really do resolutions, because we all know that those are made to be broken. But I do like to have some basic goals and dreams for the year, things I can look forward to and aim for. To quote Sylvia Plath, “We must be moving, working, making dreams to run toward; the poverty of life without dreams is too horrible to imagine…”

Here are my goals for 2012! In no particular order of importance…
  • Get less squishy. Yeah, I had a baby a month ago. I gained 30 pounds during pregnancy and have already lost just about all of it. But things are just not the same! I’m a fairly lazy person, so I’m not going to push myself very hard, but I would like to work on firming up a bit.
  • Be a better friend, family member, and neighbor. I want to keep in touch more with people. Having a baby has brought me so much closer to my parents, because they want a lot of updates and I need a lot of support! I want to keep that up, and also remember to reach out to friends. I’m a bit of a loner, and Robert and I tend to isolate ourselves and live in our own little world (we're such a duprass). I want to nourish and build our support system, because sometimes we need other people! Also…
  • Make some friends who have children. We don’t have any! I’d like some future friends for baby, plus it’s always nice to talk to other mothers about things. (Because childless friends only want to hear so much about diapers and sleepless nights!)
  • Remember to use my creative outlets. I want to find the time to blog regularly, keep up with my own personal journal and do a few little craft projects! Nothing too ambitious.  Maybe take a few photos that don't feature a baby.
  • Enjoy every baby moment. This one sort of goes without saying, but I thought I’d say it anyway… I know the next year will fly as quickly as this one, and Audrey is going to go through so many changes! And on top of that…
  • Enjoy every moment with Robert! I always knew that I didn’t want our relationship to get lost in the confusion of parenting, and so far we’ve been keeping it real. True, we don’t get as much quality time alone, but it’s the little moments that count. I always thought “date nights” sounded stupid, but now I feel like we’re due a few. I wouldn’t have survived the last few weeks without him. He has taken such good care of me!! Let me boast a little more: while I was recovering from giving birth he took over all the household chores, cooked and fed me (sometimes literally) 3 meals a day, and has been 100% involved in every bit of baby care. Plus he has big muscles. Haha. Seriously, though, I never want to stop letting him know every day how super in love with him I am.
Okay, I’ll stop before this gets out of control. What are your goals for the new year? Do you have lofty aspirations or do you keep it simple?

best friends forever!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays!


I hope everyone is having a nice holiday weekend!  We're having a quiet Christmas at home this year, and filling our weekend with cinnamon rolls, Harry Potter reading parties, humble little gifts, and hugs.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

shhh...


Boy, it's been quiet over here!  Just thought I'd pop in to say hello and that we're doing fine.  The first couple of weeks with a new baby were really rough (nothing could have prepared us for the shock!!), but we have finally settled into a sort of routine.  We're having a pretty good time with our new little friend.  I can't believe she'll be a month old next week.

Maybe one day soon I'll be able to get around to visiting some blogs -- I have over 900 unread items in my Google Reader.  Yikes!!  Hope everyone is having a lovely December and enjoying the season.  See you later!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Introducing...

5 days old!
Day one...
Our big day came and went successfully!  I will have to post more details later, when I can find the time.  Life with a newborn is exhausting, and there is a huge learning curve!  But each day gets a little easier and we are so in love with our new little friend.

She was born on 11/22/11 at 3:47 p.m. and was 8 pounds, 10 ounces and 21.5 inches long.  I made a big baby!!  She is absolutely beautiful and we are so proud.

I may be quiet for a long while.  Thank you all for your sweet comments, and sorry in advance for the little bit of radio silence that I'm sure will be going on here.  We're still adjusting to our new life as parents!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dreamy Thanksgiving Foods

Startling fact: In just a couple of days, a baby will live in my house. I’m being induced tomorrow morning!  We are beyond excited. While we get settled and adjusted, it might be quiet here for a little while. I hope everyone has a wonderful week! Thursday is Thanksgiving, and hopefully we'll be coming home from the hospital that morning. My parents will be in town, so we’re going to throw together an impromptu meal.

Have you tried kabocha or delicata squash before? I like winter squash!

For those of you who have Thanksgiving plans, what’s on the menu? Look, my plans are a bit up in the air right now so I have to settle with some food fantasizing! I’ll be honest and tell you that I’ve never really enjoyed traditional Thanksgiving food. That’s not actually a secret; it’s been a joke in my family for years. While everyone else would pile up their plates with food, I usually just had a few bites of turkey and one or two dinner rolls. Dessert was the only part I cared about. But last year Robert and I hosted Thanksgiving for his family, and we came up with a menu that everyone really enjoyed!!

We ordered a country ham from Benton’s and then made a bunch of neat side dishes. [If you are a carnivore, you have to try Benton’s bacon at some point in your life. It’s made of magic.] For sides we had honey wheat rolls (so good with butter!), these awesome sweet potatoes with pecans and goat cheese, some kind of stuffed mushrooms, mashed potatoes, and a salad made with broccolini and sun dried tomatoes. And dessert? Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake. Need I say more? (Wait, I will: it has a crust made of ginger snaps!) It was awesome!

This year we’re going to keep it easy for ourselves. I’m sure I’ll be in a daze and everything will be crazy, so we might just have to wing it. But as of now Robert is planning to make a pizza… Yes, pizza! Butternut squash pizza, of course. We have to keep it autumnal around here. This is one of our go-to recipes, though we usually skip the sage and replace the gorgonzola with feta or chevre.  We’re REALLY hoping to have time to make this salted caramel cheesecake pie (just look at it!), but just to be on the safe side we bought a frozen pie for backup. Pie is pretty much the only staple for a Thanksgiving meal, in my opinion.

So what’s on your menu? Whether you go the traditional turkey route or do something a little different, I hope everyone has a lovely day and gets some quality time with family! We’ll be focused on a new little family member over here, so the food will just be a side note.

I feel like I have so much to be thankful for this year!  You know, aside from food.  Happy Early Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Worth Reading: Opal Whiteley's Diary

While we're all waiting around for baby to decide to show her pretty face… read any good books lately?  I don’t mean just mildly entertaining or interesting books, but the kind that are so wonderful you want to tell everyone about them.  You know, the type of book that you just keep telling your significant other or best friend about, even when they’re tired of hearing you read your favorite excerpts?  Yes, the type that makes you feel like an enthusiastic bookworm!

If you’re looking for something nice to read on a chilly day while you cuddle up with a cup of tea or cocoa, I have an idea for you.  And if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, maybe this will make your summer reading list! 


Recently I came across a copy of this book, The Singing Creek Where the Willows Grow: The Rediscovered Diary of Opal Whitely.  I originally intended to give it to my sister because it looked like something she would find interesting.  Then I started reading it, and knew that I MUST keep it for myself.  But I also knew I needed to get another copy to give to my mom, because I think she would absolutely love it.  It’s that kind of book.  I’ve acquired two copies so far and am looking for a cheap third.  I need to share this with people.

Here’s a quick summary from Amazon: “Innocent and intimate, this haunting diary reveals the life of a kind of feminine Peter Pan in the Oregon wilderness.”  I’m not sure that does Opal any justice.  She was definitely some sort of child genius, and she was definitely disconnected from reality.  She talked to trees, the wind, the creek, animals.  And they talked back to her in a way.  She ended up living out most of her life in a mental hospital.  So her story is ultimately sad, but the diary was written very early in her childhood.  She had such a unique voice, and said the sweetest things.  She carried toads and mice in her pockets, had a hospital for sick animals, and a nursery for baby animals.  She named trees and animals the most exciting things; my favorite is the mouse named Thomas Chatterton Jupiter Zeus. She left notes for fairies and angels in the woods, and created a cathedral where she would hold religious services for all of her animals.  Everything was full of magic and wonder.


To put it simply, this diary is one of the most adorable things I’ve ever read.  It’s occasionally sad, because Opal didn’t understand a lot of things about people and no one took the time to explain them to her.  She was in trouble on a daily basis with her mother for naively doing things completely wrong (think Amelia Bedelia but in the early 1900s: she took all things literally and would throw a butter churn in the river if her mother said she wished to never see it again), and the punishments she endured sound quite cruel.  But Opal never complained, and there were a few adults in her life who obviously adored her and played along with her magical worldview. 

Can you tell how into this book I am?  It’s one of those that is fun to randomly open up and start reading at any place.  I think you’ll like it!  Unless you don’t enjoy animals, nature, or the wonder of childhood.  It’s also fascinating from a psychological standpoint, so I can’t really imagine anyone not liking it, unless they’re just plain grumpy. 

Read it, if you can find a copy.  Check your local library first!  There are multiple editions, some with more back story than others.

So what about you?  Have any books you’re just itching to share with everyone?  Tell me about them!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Week 39

There are only 5 days left until my estimated due date!  I know that date doesn't mean a whole lot, and I kind of expect to see it pass before we get to meet our little one.  But every day is a waiting game now.  Everyone is constantly asking me if anything has changed, and how I feel.  There are times when I have new sensations or random contractions, and I start to wonder if maybe labor is starting... but it never turns out to be the real thing!  Waiting is incredibly hard.

Dress from Motherhood Maternity
So while we wait, let's admire this giant belly of mine.  When I look at these pictures, I can't believe they're even real.  I also can't believe that in just a couple of weeks, I won't be this big.  I'll be able to roll over on my belly!!  I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to that.  Life is about to get a little insane, but I'm ready to go ahead and get started on it.

This is one of those mandatory pregnancy poses.
Thank you to everyone who has dropped by in the last few days!  It means a lot to me to return to this space and be greeted by familiar faces and some new ones as well.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

welcome back, me!

This blog has taken a good long nap, but I think it’s time for a revival!  I’ve done a lot of thinking, reading, writing and growing in the past year.  I feel like I’ve become a more genuine person, more aware of who I am and who I want to be.  I’ve become more confident and comfortable with my own personality, and I’m ready to share again with anyone who’s willing to read! 

The activity here died down last year because I didn’t have a lot of excitement going on in life, and it was starting to bore even me!  I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to read it.  I became anxious about putting out such mediocre content, and also a little paranoid about sharing my life with so many strangers.  I was having a lot of anxiety issues.  So I just sort of disappeared without warning.  I apologize to any readers who were worried about me, but no one really came looking for me so I assumed my absence was no big deal!  I decided not to stress about the blogosphere and just get on with my life.

What did I do with my quiet year?  I stopped reading so many blogs, especially fashion blogs.  I wore t-shirts and jeans nearly every day and didn't worry about dressing up.  I didn’t worry about vintage stuff or keeping an Etsy shop.  I decided I didn’t need to go back to school like I’d been talking about.  Last November, I found out I was pregnant and then a week later had a miscarriage.  That was another reason for not wanting to come back to blogging: what could I say about it?  I just wanted to be quiet and alone.  (But I am completely ready to talk about it now!)  I worked for an anger management counselor for a while.  I spent a nice Christmas in Texas with my family.  I got a really nice new laptop, and didn’t use it to blog.  I made a tumblr account, and didn't use it to blog.  We made more friends in real life.  I started working regularly at the goat farm, though I had to stop after a while.  Robert and I had our 3-year wedding anniversary and spent an interesting weekend on a river boat in Chattanooga.  Robert turned 30, I turned 25, and I found my first gray hair.  I became an excellent temporary receptionist.  None of it seemed blog-worthy!

But I’ve been growing in other ways too.  For the last 9 months…

18 weeks...

24 weeks...

31 weeks...

34 weeks...

38 weeks...


That’s right: I’m about to have a baby!  We had to wait 3 months after the miscarriage to try again.  It felt like forever, because we’d become really set on having a baby.  But  we did it!  Early pregnancy was scary and I was considered high risk for a while - we found out I had low progesterone as well as low thyroid levels.  We got all of that fixed up and crossed our fingers that it would turn out okay.  And so far, it has.  (I'll get back to you after the whole "birth" experience.)  Looking back from this point, it has been a relatively normal and healthy pregnancy!  But I’ve also been to more doctors in the past year than in all of my previous years of life combined.  It’s a little ridiculous.

Our estimated due date is in 8 days.  I’ve already started dilating and labor could begin at any time in the next couple of weeks!  Needless to say, it’s an exciting time.  What does the future hold?  Well, for a while I’m just going to be a stay at home mom and have a good time raising our daughter.  We are so excited about everything to come!  And I don’t know if it’s the thyroid medication or just the building excitement of pregnancy, but I’ve had such a good attitude about everything for the past several months.  I’m looking forward to every new stage of life that's coming up.

So why am I reviving this old blog?  To record all of the new excitement, and to share it with old friends.  I feel very inspired and have a lot of ideas about what I want to do here!  I’m not making any promises about what I will blog about or how often I will write.  I’m not putting any pressure on myself.  But I do want to give blogging another go.  I think I'm ready: I stayed awake almost ALL NIGHT writing future posts in my brain.  It was very irritating, but that tells me that I'm excited about this and I should move forward.

If you’re one of my old readers (or a new one!), please drop in to say hello.  I would love to reconnect!  I don’t read nearly as many blogs as I did in the past, simply because it takes so much time, but I will always take the time to come visit anyone who leaves me a sweet comment.

How has everyone been?  Anyone reading this at all?  Echo… echo…