Friday, December 31, 2010

So Long 2010, You've Been Good to Me

And so closes 2010. Jan-Sept of this year went by at the pace of a snail while the last quarter flew by.

2010 was an obviously memorable year for me. I survived 41 weeks (to the day) of pregnancy and gave birth to my first child, truly one of, if not THE, coolest thing I have done in my life.

Now for my annual look back on the year:

Vacations
1. We started this year out on a cruise ship. Here's what I learned - never cruise in the early stages of pregnancy lest you end up in the ship infirmary with a French doctor who can't start an IV properly and makes you think dehydration really is an ectopic pregnancy.
2. We also went to the Carolinas this year! North and South Carolina were good to us.
3. Stayed in The Delafield Hotel as an early anniversary present courtesy of my in-laws.
4. We went to Appleton, WI for a night courtesy of a golf outing prize Nate won.
5. I traveled to the ATL for MB's Baby Shower

Accomplishments
1. Had two papers accepted for publication in national peer-reviewed journals this year - to come out in 2011.
2. Kept up running until 32 weeks of pregnancy, including doing a 5K at the 20 week mark.
3. Survived 33 weeks of pregnancy-related insomnia. Yes I am lucky to have had a baby that took to sleeping through the night early on - but I but in my fair share of sleepless nights early on!
4. Read 28 books. (30 if you count the two pregnancy books I read).
5. Finished not one but two knitting projects in a year - this is quite an accomplishment in the world of this slow knitter.
6. Finished teaching spring semester and had good evaluations from the students.
7. I learned to Curl!
8. I re-learned how to embroider!
9. We learned how to re-upholster furniture (nursery chair and ottoman for Maggie's room).
10. I learned how to strip and stain furniture (Maggie's highchair from Goodwill).
11. Took cooking classes at Coquette Cafe with my mom.
12. Made a baby quilt in 4 days for Baby Anslea
13. I learned that cake decorating is NOT in the cards for me.
14. I celebrated my third year of being a homeowner.
15. We celebrated our third wedding anniversary and the arrival of our first daughter on the same day!
16. Looking back, I crafted a lot more than I thought I did. More bags of various types, a doll, a maternity skirt, a nightgown top, a travel wallet, curtains, and the piece de resistance: Maggie's Baptism dress.

Baby-related Accomplishments
1. Labor and Delivery. 'nuff said.
2. Having a healthy baby! Bonus score that she is cute
3. Breastfeeding success after four days of tubes, medical tape, hand expressing, pumping and feeding via syringe
4. Losing 35 lbs!
5. Using cloth diapers

House-related Accomplishments - this did start as a home remodel/makeover blog afterall
1. Finishing the upstairs bathroom so that we officially have a 4BR 2BATH house.
2. Re-carpeting the basement and converting part of it into Craft Central
3. Converting our guest room to a nursery and the office to the guest room
4. Changing out all the inside doorknobs to closets and bedrooms. (The old ones were N-A-S-T-Y)
5. Got a landscaping plan for our yard - watch out 2011!

TV-So I'm not a big TV fan except of watching shows on DVD. Here are shows we watched via DVD this year
1. Weeds Season 5
2. Mad Men Seasons 1-3 and watched Season 4 real time
3. The Wire ALL FIVE SEASONS. We were addicts.
4. Glee - part of Season 1
5. Started to watch Big Love. We didn't get into it so we stopped.
6. True Blood

And your favorite and mine..the "Oh My G** Did I really just do that/Did that Just happen to me?"
1. Passing out mid-pedicure during the Disney Cruise. This is how my cousin-in-law found out I was preggers.
2. Taking my pants off in the middle of the YMCA fitness floor only to find out that I did NOT have shorts on underneath but did have nude underwear and a flow blown wedgie.
3. We saw Anthony Bourdain at the Riverside!!! (Too bad we didn't meet him)
4. I wore a paper chicken hat through much of the Wisconsin State Fair where I also danced, in full 38-weeks pregnant glory to get a free package of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Shameless.
5. Tripping in the grass on my way to my car after work before the first meeting of a book club I was joining and having to show up with two huge grass stains on the knees of my pants.

We did not go to one wedding this year. CRAZY. We were invited to two, but one occurred while we were in the Carolinas and one was ten days post-Maggie. Congrats to Greg & Pam and Steve and Nicole.

Births - As I predicted last year, 2010 was the year of births, not just our own:
1. Felix
2. Christian
3. Sawyer
4. Anslea
5. Charlotte
6. Aleena
7. Madeleine x 2
8. Madelynne
9. Olivia
10. Gavin
11. Beckett
12. Benjamin
13. Zoe
14. Sofia
15. Natalie
16. Kolton
17. Jocelyn
18. Greta
*If I didn't mention your baby, I'm sorry. This list was done quickly off the top of my head.

And new years resolutions were not made in 2010 but will be back in 2011. Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The 2010 Book List

Well here it is - the list of books I read this year.

Here is my 2010 book list:

1. Push by Sapphire
2. The Map of Love by Ahdaf Soueif
3. Peony in Love Lisa See
4. The Sharper Your Knife, The Less you Cry by Kathleen Flinn
5. Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
6. Sarah’s Key Tatiana de Rosnay
7. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
8. Sophie’s Choice by William Syron
9. Little Bee by Chris Cleave
10. The Girl Who Fell from the sky by Heidi Durrow
11. The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elizabeth Robinson
12. The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
13. The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee
14. The Ladies Lending Library by Janice K. Keefer
15. Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil by Deborah Rodriguez
16. Living Dead in Dallas (Sookie Stackhouse #2) by Charlaine Harris
17. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
18. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (Millenium #3) by Stieg Larsson
19. Beautiful Lies by Lisa Unger
20. Club Dead (Sookie Stackhouse #3) by Charlaine Harris
21. Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse #4) by Charlaine Harris
22. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
23. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games #1)
24. The Poisoner's Handbook by Deborah Blum
25. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games #2)
26. Run Like a Mother by Dimity McDowell
27. Room by Emma Donoghue
28. Still Alice by Lisa Genova

I did not set a book-reading goal for 2010. My 2009 goal was 30 and I fell 2 short of that this year - not bad considering I had a baby! Looking back, I read a lot more series books than I typically do.

Here are the books I gave up on:
1. Behind the Scenes of a Museum by Kate Atkinson
2. The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B by Sandra Gulland
3. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn*

*I may return to this someday. I had gotten halfway through then went into labor and even though I renewed it 3 times at the library (the max allowed), I didn't get it finished in the first month of Maggie's life. I loved the Millenium and Hunger Games triologies - Mockingjay (Hunger Games #3) is on my to-read list for 2011. The Sookie Stackhouse books were fun. I was deep into them while watching True Blood on DVD. They were fun, quick to read books when my mind was not on much of anything else but "When am I going to have this baby?!?!?".

Once again, a shout out to the Goodreads website which lets me keep track of this (and share book lists with other nerd-awesome book lovers like me - thats for you, MS :) )

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bring Home the Bacon with a side of Caterpillar

Pretty sure Mags inherited her parents love of Bacon. (That's a toy pig she is chewing on.)


She seems to still enjoy sitting in the highchair.

It helps that she now is obsessed with this Leap Frog Caterpillar. She will pretty much do anything as long as that thing is around, including longer stretches of tummy time. Maybe she will start to show some interest in rolling over soon?!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Baby's First Christmas: Part 5

Our final Christmas celebration was with my dad, his fiance and my siblings and niece. For the occasion, he cooked his standard T$ meal - roast beef, mashed potatoes, rolls and chocolate pudding with Christmas sprinkles. Of course we made the girls take a picture in front of the tree before presents - you can see how thrilled this made them:


We had fun opening presents - little kids do make presents 1000x better. Toni was thrilled with the 150 count crayon tower we got her and was NOT so thrilled when helping us open Maggie's presents when she discovered that Maggie got a Dora the Explorer doll. Can we say jealousy?! Lucky for her, she got a matching Dora doll a few presents later. Here the girls are with Bedtime Dora and Party Dora.


Just because it's Christmas does not mean that we take a vacation from tummy time, much to Maggie's chagrin:


Something about Maggie's uncles makes her so relaxed that she poops (see BFC part 4 post). Here she is chillin' with her Uncle Mike just before pooping through yet another outfit.


We wrapped up the day with a Green Bay Packer win :)

Baby's First Christmas: Part 4

Next came celebrating Christmas with Nate's parents and brothers and his Grandma Esther. Maggie wore a special Santa bib for the occasion - I believe it was Nate's when he was little.


Here you can see all of the excitement Maggie had with the presents



Maggie relaxes with Grandpa:


Here Maggie gets a little too relaxed on her Uncle David...just moments before she pooped all over him, literally. Damn disposable diapers!


Grandma Esther was thrilled to join in the fun (notice the outfit change on Magster).


We wrapped up the day in a trance watching David and Nate play Donkey Kong. :)

Baby's First Christmas: Part 3

The next phase (and my favorite) in our crazy Christmas was Christmas morning at home. Maggie woke up to find that Santa left a special present under the tree for her! A Radio Flyer Classic Walker Wagon!

Obviously she didn't know the difference between Christmas and any other day but it was fun to do the Santa thing for the first time. I can imagine it will get more and more fun the older she gets!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Baby's First Christmas: Part 2

Nate took off work on Christmas Eve which was helpful so we could finish up some last minute stuff before BFC Part 2 commenced at 4 PM. I had some crafting to finish up for the annual name exchange. Each year, we pick names at Thanksgiving for Nate's maternal side of the family. I was excited this year to pick his aunt Shari because I have never picked a female name and the males are really hard to buy for. We also pick a letter that the gift has to start with. This year was a "K".

You know what that means: Krafty Kristmas begins. I dug out my knitting needles and went to Loop yarn shop in Riverwest to get some really nice yarn to knit a project. I paged through the Designer One Skein Knits book that I had and tabbed pages that I was interested in and summoned my sister to help me pick out a project that she thought Shari would like and also one that I could reasonably get done in a month. We settled on the cross stitch scarf, which is "just" a scarf but with a fun pattern. The directions in the book are terrible. Thankfully due to google, I found someone's flickr comment that explained them in better terms and on my 8th try of starting, I got the hang of it. Voila: a Knit scarf

The pattern is available for free via Google Books. I picked out the yarn and did not realize that it is the type of yarn with varying degrees of thickness so it made it sort of difficult, but I finished about 2 weeks ahead of schedule. I actually found that knitting is a good craft to do with a baby because you can make progress little by little. I used Araucania brand yarn - the Atacama Nature Alpaca variety.

While I finished part 1 of my name exchange gift early, part two was finished Christmas Eve. I made my second Cosmo bag (Amy Butler pattern) to hold all of Shari's own knitting supplies, which I noticed earlier this fall that she used a plastic bag. I also knew she liked this bag because she liked the one I made for my BIL's girlfriend. Thankfully, this bag was easier/quicker the second time around:


So the crafts were finished, the presents were wrapped...it was time to head to Nate's grandparents house. First we stopped in by his parents to take the annual photos in front of the tree:




After pics we went to Maggie's great grandparents' house for dinner and then to church where Uncle David had a solo in "O Holy Night" (my favorite Christmas carol). Of course, David rocked it. Church started an hour after Maggie's usual bedtime so she was not in the greatest mood for it, thus I spent most of the time in the back pacing the cool hallways trying to get her to sleep. She finally caved (sort of) 2 minutes before the church service of 1 hour 30 minutes ended. After church, we put her to bed in the pack and play and opened all of her presents - we're such mean parents, ha ha ha. Once again we were all spoiled. My favorite present of the night came from my father-in-law: a Booklight!!!! I have wanted a book light since I was a little kid. Why I never bought myself one, i do not know, particularly after I got married to someone who needs it to be PITCH black to fall asleep. This meant no late night reading in bed for me....UNTIL NOW! Mwah-ah-ah! The night ended with smorgasbord snacks before heading home.

Mags with her Great Grandparents:

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Springsteen Then and Now

Photo Taken 9/13/10


Photo Taken 12/22/10


BRUUUUUUUUUUUCE! would be proud.

FOOD!!!

Nate and I have usually tried to eat dinner at the dinner table every night since we got married. During the last few weeks of pregnancy/first few weeks of Maggie we definitely did not do this and for a few weeks now, we have been back. We usually were putting Maggie in her bouncy seat on top of the table. I thought she might like a new view so we replaced one of our chairs with her high chair and gave it a test ride last night. She looked so tiny in it! With the assistance of a flour sack towel and two small pillows, she was able to stay in there for the entire dinner and she was loving it. Apparently watching us eat lettuce is very funny looking.

No, she can't eat solid food yet - 6 months is the recommended age to start. We just wanted her to be able to join in with us and practice sitting up.

In other food news, Nate has been bringing home various gifts from wholesalers, mostly food. Last night he brought home the longest box of chocolates we had ever seen:


Finally, I have been in a sweet potato kick all fall. I cannot eat enough sweet potatoes. Here are two recent recipes containing them:

Honey Roasted Vegetables
Source: Everyday Food

2 medium sweet potatoes (1 lb) peeled, halved and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 medicum carrots cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 medium parsnips cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup walnuts (I use pecans due to allergy)
1/4 cup honey
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
3-5 sprigs thyme

preheat oven to 375. Toss everything together in a 3 qt baking dish and put in oven until vegetables are tender - about 1 hour.

Spicy Pasta with Sweet Potatoes
Source: Better Homes and Gardens

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes (2 cups)
1/2 tsp each sugar, chili powder and cinnamon
8 oz dried rigatoni
1/3 cup peanut butter
3 oz cream cheese, cut up
2 tsp Asian chili sauce (they recommend sriracha sauce, but I used sambal oolek paste b/c I already had that)
1 TB soy sauce
6 green onions thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 450. Oil a rimmed bakin pan. Place sweet potatoes in bowl and toss with 1 TB olive oil, sugar, chili powder and cinnamon. spread in the pan and back 20 mins until tender.
Meanwhile cook pasta. Drain and reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
In saucepan, combine peanut butter, cream cheese, pasta water, chili sauce and soy sauce. Stire over med heat until heated through. If too thick, add additional water. Stir in pasta, sweet potatoes and green onions.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Baby's First Christmas: Part 1

Last Saturday began our family Christmas celebrations. We started with Grandma Judy and Breakfast with Santa. Once again, Maggie was very blase about Santa, even after Toni gave her a pep talk:



Maggie's great grandparents (Pa & Nana) also joined us for breakfast at the firehouse.

It was then time to head to Grandma Judy's for presents. Maggie was not nearly as excited as her cousin about the presents even though she got some fun toys. She was more interested in watching Toni open the presents for her:


After all the presents were opened, it was time to play with them. Toni and Nate put together a Hello Kitty puzzle while Maggie watched in amusement

It was here that Nate captured my new favorite picture of her:


One of the gifts we gave Toni was a Where's Waldo? book. We were having fun finding "WALDEN" as she liked to call him.


Christmas with Grandma Judy was a success!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner

I love finding fun onesies for Maggie to wear. I recently ordered and received this one, which is maybe my favorite one yet:





My sister and I have long been fans of the movie Dirty Dancing (where the quote is from). We even had a cat named Johnny Castle! Anyways, my sister repeatedly watches the movie and recently discovered that Baby's mom in the movie was named "Marge". When we first announced that Maggie was born, that her name would be Margaret and we would call her Maggie, her aunt and uncles called her "Marge" for a while, much to our chagrin. It sort of became this joke. So I contacted the creator of the onesie on Etsy and asked if she would screenprint one of the lines with Marge in it on the back. The owner graciously agreed and thus:

(This line is what Baby's dad tells her mom on the golf course.)
I sent the picture to them as an early Christmas present.

Thanks to the Truly Sanctuary shop for the fun shirt!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Crazy end to last week

Starting about the middle of last week, things have been crazy around here.

Last Wednesday was my last investment club meeting. I decided that I wasn't going to be able to keep up my millions of hobbies once I went back to work so IC was the first on the chopping block. I am okay with this as it was starting to get cumbersome doing research on stocks even before Maggie arrived. Two years ago, my goal in joining IC was to be able to at least voice an opinion when Nate asked what kinds of stocks we should invest in. Previously, I would say, "Whatever you think". Now at least I can sound halfway intelligent and we can discuss our picks. My other goal was to break even. Each month we had to invest a minimum of $25 dollars. I only ever invested the minimum so I wanted to at least break even. I am happy to say that not only am I getting my money that I invested in, but I almost doubled it! Looks like Maggie's savings account will get an extra deposit.

Thursday we headed to Tex Tubb's Taco Palace in Madison for BCK's farewell Wisconsin party. Yes. It's true. BCK is leaving us for Canada. Everyone was asked to wear Wisconsin gear to the party. So, being the huge dorks that we are, we were decked out, as was Maggie. One of Nate's clients sent us a package that arrived just days before FILLED with Badger gear so Maggie had a Badger Hat and a Badger pacifier in addition to her Jump Around shirt from Nate's cousin and the blanket my dad's fiance's mom made her when she was just born. Here is a shot of her at the party:
She was very good at the party. Coincidentally, we ran into my friend BLK at the restaurant too!

Friday was another fun-filled day. Maggie accompanied me to my office potluck party where we celebrated two baby showers, one graduation party, BCK's office farewell and the holidays, complete with Secret Santa exchange. Then we had a quick rest at home before heading to Nate's parents' house. Nate & I had to go to his office holiday party while Maggie's great grandparents babysat her. We later commented that we felt like that couple on that Air Tran commercial where the older couple is yelling "Don't leave us with the baby" since she was crying when we left and we quickly explained how to work the cloth diaper, the swaddle and scribbling down our phone numbers. Luckily she got to sleep - perhaps it was Grandma & Grandpa's king size crib?! I don't think it would have mattered how crabby she was - Great Grandma & Grandpa seemed very excited to watch her! We were happy she slept well as we had to get up early on Saturday morning to start the Christmas celebrations.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Santa Baby

Maggie has met the big guy twice already and both times she seemed rather unimpressed, as these pictures clearly document.

The first picture is with her cousin Toni. My mom has gotten a picture with Toni & Santa since she was little and this year Maggie was in on the action.


The second time is through the Kids Club at Nate's Bank. After sitting on Santa's lap she got a Curious George Christmas book and I got her cupcake. :)


Both times she was pretty quiet. She has one more chance to tell Santa what she wants for Christmas on Saturday morning. We are starting our Christmas celebrations early. Saturday is celebration #1 with my mom and siblings. We are starting by going to the Santa breakfast that the fire department (of which my brother is a member) puts on for a fundraiser.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

EXERSAUCER!!!!!!!!!!!

"What the hell is an exersaucer?"

Those were my EXACT words when Nate called me last spring and asked me if we wanted an exersaucer. He came home with this plastic monstrosity with farm animals all over it and said, "THAT is an exersaucer." (One of his colleagues gave us several different baby toys after her third, and final, baby grew out of them which was AWESOME!)

The exersaucer sat in our basement for the next seven months. Then last week, I thought, "Hey, maybe Maggie would like that now that she loves to stand so much." I put her in it and her world has never been the same. It seems like every day she learns a new skill in it. Yesterday she figured out how to spin herself around in it. Our child may never learn to roll over or crawl due to the fact that she hates being on her tummy, but man, she can work an exersaucer, which has to be a life skill, don't you think?!






Zany Outfit = Zany Maggie

The way I feel about a day is often tied to my outfit. So if I stay unshowered in my pjs all day (which sometimes feels good), I sort of have a slovenly attitude about the day and do not get much done. And by the end of the day, I feel totally gross. If I get up, shower, put normal clothes on (re: no yoga pants and long sleeve T), I get a lot more accomplished. Even when I am not on maternity leave, I have felt this way. People at work say I dress up a lot and it's probably true because I feel that if I start the day looking professional, I'll be more productive at work than if I show up in jeans and a T.

I think my daughter inherited this.

Yesterday I dressed her in a zany outfit. Mostly because I have been waiting for her to fit into these fun wool pants on loan from CD and this sock monkey onesie we got from one of my colleagues. I figured, the shirt has orange in it, they sort of go together. Well, Maggie was in a crazy, fun mood all day. Thus I took 77 pictures of her (don't worry - only a fraction of them are posted below).

I know, I know - I blame the fast shutter speed of our camera ;) To quote my brother, "When do you go back to work?! That kid has to be sick of you." (Jan 3 is the official date).