Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Explanations necessary

So, I'm sure many of you noticed a big slump in my posting starting the first week of November. I said I was busy, blah blah. Well, that was only partly true. You see, I have a big mouth. I have an extremely hard time keeping secrets. And I had a big secret in need of keeping.

Now Christmas is over and the secret is out, so it's time to explain myself.

Rewind to Halloween. After an evening of trick or treating with T and Monkey, I finally plopped my exhausted body into bed. T and I started talking about our day and for some reason, a calender image for the month of October popped into my head. I began mentally counting weeks and realized something was missing from my week. So the following morning, I pulled the spare EPT out of the closet.

Sure enough, positive - immediately.

So there you have it, my dear readers. I am 13 weeks pregnant today. We managed to keep it a secret for 2 months!

Our parents were obviously ecstatic. I think my Dad's response was my favorite, though. Monkey is a moving target and he was trying to read her shirt. "I'm.... going.... to.... be.... a..... big..... sister. Really?? REALLY?!?!" My Mom already had an idea it was coming (how I kept morning sickness from her for 2 weeks while she was with us in November is beyond me).

I've decided I'm having a boy just because of the morning sickness. I wasn't sick a day for Monkey. Not so this time. For the record, I was convinced Monkey was a boy until about 2 weeks before I had her when I found out she was breech - then I had my doubts because up until that point, my entire pregnancy had been the same as my Mom's for me was. Breech baby just cinched it! We'll see how good I am at guessing this time.....(Stubborn from the womb is what my Mom likes to say about me - I think we'll be able to say the same of Monkey).

For ease of typing, I will be saying he and him. We will not be finding out if we're having a boy or a girl, though. This is one of life's greatest surprises! So remember that when you see me talking about him.

For the purpose of blogging, I'll be calling him New Bean for the time being (I called Monkey "Bean" while I was pregnant for her).

I'll probably be a little quiet for a few more weeks. I need to clean up from the holiday's, I'm fighting first trimester fatigue (hopefully over with very soon!), and it's the year end at work so I have W-2's to prepare and paperwork to get together for the accountant.

If I don't manage to log on again this week, have a very Happy New Year! And be safe if you're out partying on New Year's Eve!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas.

I seriously have 2 quick seconds of computer time.

We've had a really fun, lazy day, just the 3 of us. It was very different from the Christmas celebrations we are used to (running from family to family).

So, if anything good came of T being on call and forcing us to remain south for the holiday, the kicking back and enjoying of the day was worth it.

I'll be off for a few days but wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What are you reading?

Queenie, over at The Queen's Blog, wants to know what we're reading.

I decided to make a post about it instead of leaving a comment because otherwise I'd be tempted to post about how horrible my morning has been so far (and it's only 9AM). I'm trying to move on and get festive, so let's talk about a book instead of the oil truck that cut me off and nearly made me go off the road on my drive to work this morning. Or instead of being locked out of the office because the frigid temperatures caused the lock in the door to be frozen. Yup. Let's discuss a book instead.

T borrowed this book from our good friend J a few months ago. When I read, I get sucked in and need to read from cover to cover as quickly as possible. T, on the other hand, takes his time. He can read a chapter, put the book down for 2 months, and has no problems picking it back up and continuing this pattern until he finishes. I've been eying it on his nightstand since he put it there. While he gave Monkey her bath last night, I decided to start it.

My Dad is a logger. He gets to sit in a machine during the day now, but when we were kids, he was out there cutting by hand. On days like today, with the extremely cold temperatures (the weather man said 20-30 below up north with the wind chill), I'm very thankful he DOES get to stay in his machine now (I'm also hoping he stays in it all day to stay out of that cold). And I remember how hard he used to work to keep a roof over our heads and food in our bellies back then (not that he doesn't work hard now - it's just not nearly as physically taxing).

I'm drawn to stories about the old days. The simpler times are obviously a huge draw for me. But I especially enjoy when they include logging stories. I have an extreme appreciation for hard work of these men. I love reading of the old logging camps and just getting a glimpse into how things used to be.

I have only gotten through all of the prefacing and prologues (there's a lot of reading right there), but I think I'm going to like the read.

We take turns doing bath time, alternating between us each day, so it may take me some time to finish, which is very out of the norm for me. I've been hanging out with T far too long.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pretending to be snow bound.

Weather forecasts are telling us to expect our first Nor'easter today. It's now 12:30 in the afternoon and we haven't seen any snowflakes yet. We've decided to pretend we're stuck home because of snow just the same.

T has been baking cookies for his Christmas party at work tomorrow. Monkey and I finished wrapping gifts (minus hers because I won't let her "help" wrap her own gifts). And we're all still in our jammies.

Now we're just waiting for the snow to fly before putting in Polar Express!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holiday baking

Monkey loves helping Mommy in the kitchen. Thanks to my nice new kitchen chairs (I bought a set of 2 as a present to me and my parents gave me an early Christmas gift and had another set of 2 shipped to me), she can help every day (the old chairs were from the 70's and were on wheels - not exactly safe to let a toddler stand on - and these look so much nicer, too!).

We decided to attack a batch of Snickerdoodles yesterday. By we, I obviously mean me. If you don't know what a Snickerdoodle is, let me try to explain. They are a cookie, similar in taste to a sugar cookie. However, you roll them in a cinnamon sugar mixture before baking. This makes the exterior sugary and crusty - and the inside remains moist and chewy. I only make them during the Christmas season even though they are my favorite cookie.

I let Monkey help pour flour and sugar into the mixing bowl. Then, when I turned around to wash my hands, this is what I found:

She had already gotten a glob of cookie dough into her mouth and decided she liked it enough to reach for more. That's my girl with the sweet tooth!

So, we set the dough in the fridge to chill. It remains there until I have time to bake it this afternoon. If you leave to chill more than the recommended hour, be sure to cover the dough well so it doesn't dry out.

Yesterday, I promised to share the recipe. I don't know the history of it because it has been in my Mom's recipe box for as long as I can remember. If I had to guess, I'd say it came from my Great Aunt Violet's recipes because she was great with baking.

1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp. cream of tarter
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

2 tbs. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Mix butter, shortening 1 1/2 cup sugar and eggs. Blend in flour, cream of tarter, baking soda and salt. Chill for 1 hour. Mix 2 tbs. sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon together. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and then roll in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes.

I also mentioned an Amish Friendship Bread in need of baking. I was given the batter by one of T's coworkers along with three instruction choices. I chose this one because it didn't require my doing any dishes after mixing it every day (squeeze the bag? I can do that!).

This is how T entertains Monkey while I'm trying to get in and out of our hot oven without her underfoot. Unfortunately, it caused more clawing at my leg than anything. Yes, I'd have been scared of that, too.

Sorry ladies. I snatched him up already. You can't have him. hehe

Back to the bread. I've seen Friendship Bread numerous times before but had never been given one (I usually said thanks but no thanks to anyone offering). It was supremely easy. A child could easily do it on their own (they obviously need reading abilities - or an adult to read the instructions for them, of course).

I toasted a couple of slices for breakfast. It tasted like cinnamon toast!

I'll definitely be making it again.

Holiday shopping

So, I really am an idiot. Or, the weather just really messed things up for me last week, in regards to my scheduling. Pick which you will.

Monkey and I ventured out after her nap yesterday afternoon. I had a last minute gift to pick up at TJMaxx. Man, I love that store. I could meander through the home goods for hours. Alas, we got there at 3:30PM on the Friday before Christmas. Hello? Jodi? Did you leave your brain at home?? No meandering. Find gift, wait in a moderately long line (it wasn't as bad as I expected by looking at the parking lot!), quickly pay and run to the end of the parking lot to hurriedly get Monkey back into the car and out of the biting cold. All in all, it took 20 minutes, thanks to the lovely lady whom let me ahead of her and her full cart in the checkout line because I only had one item and "stores are difficult enough with a little one." (I did question her reason for saying it because Monkey wasn't being an issue. She was standing there, quietly holding my hand and looking at the things they line the checkout line with to try to suck you in to spend more money.)

I then took Monkey on her first trip to Toys R Us. Now I know my brain REALLY isn't working because the Toys R Us in Bangor is in the mall area. We're now talking 4:00 PM on the Friday before Christmas. I spent 45 minutes there, really to just let Monkey play a little. I also spent a bit more money than I was planning, but I wanted Monkey to have a few fun things to open on Christmas morning (we bought a portable DVD player for "her" for the car for our long trips up north - yes, it's really for us and our sanity as she gets more impatient with the ride).

Now I'm 100% finished shopping. All I need to do to finish is wrap. I hate wrapping. Rest assured, I'll probably be finishing at midnight on Christmas Eve (OK - no, I won't. T will badger me into it by then).

I am very much looking forward to Christmas morning, even if we're forced to stay home this year because of T's work schedule (he's on call for Christmas Eve until 7:00 AM on December 26). I'm sad we won't be spending Christmas with the rest of our family. Monkey's enthusiasm will make up for it, I'm sure.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The list is dwindling!

Monday, I asked what you have left to do to prepare for Christmas.

I've since crossed T's stocking stuffers off my list.
Monkey and I go to town every Friday afternoon. Today, we're going to Toys R Us so I can cross her and my nephew off the list as well.

I'm hoping to get some wrapping done while Monkey watches Sesame Street this morning, but I doubt that will happen. I'll have to wait until nap time.

We're making Snickerdoodles today. These are my absolute favorite "holiday" cookie.

I also have an Amish "friendship" bread given to me by one of T's coworkers that needs baking today. I have no idea who to give the other 3 starter batches to. Anyone interested? I'd hate to end up tossing it, and I really have no need for THAT many batches (that turns into a lot of bread after it gets split and split and split and split!).

On that note, it's time to get my cookie dough made so I can put it in the fridge to cool so it's ready when we're ready to bake.

Pictures and a recipe to follow (probably tomorrow).

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A second attempt

After a failed attempt yesterday, I'm going to try again to go finish Christmas shopping for T today. I just have a couple things I want to pick up for him, but they require me to actually go into the store to get them. That proved impossible yesterday, after the show ran longer than I expected and then dealing with the roads. Monkey was long overdue for a nap at this point.

Unfortunately, when I made the decision yesterday to hold off another day, I had forgotten about Monkey's 18 month check up this morning. It's right before lunch time. By the time I feed her lunch, it's going to be nap time. So she'll be getting a late nap again today. I don't know if my Mommy nerves can handle it (she's like me - she needs her sleep if you don't want cranky!). So I'll have to play it by ear and decide how she's feeling after her shots.

I'm running out of time! But, I refuse to let Christmas stress me out this year. I have wanted nothing more than to enjoy the season with my family and to enjoy looking at everything through Monkey's eyes.

So far, I think I'm doing a pretty good job of it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sesame Street Live

What a blast we had! The kids loved it, and my nephew (C) even got to high five Burt!

I also have to say Monkey and C are very well behaved kids. Yes, Monkey has her days, but she really is so well behaved in public. It never ceases to amaze me, especially after watching them tear through my house this morning (Now I'm wondering what I'm doing spending nap time on the computer when I really should be tidying up the house.). There were a couple of toddlers sitting behind us and they were just screeching and antsy. And what is my toddler doing? Sitting on her Gram's lap, eating Goldfish and staring at the stage.

I really had reservations at first about bringing her. It also bothered me some that my Mom was making a 4 hour drive to attend with us. I'm very glad we went.

If you're wondering where the pictures are, yell at my camera. I'll upload a couple later, but at the moment, the camera isn't being read by the USB connection. And I'm too lazy to go into my cold basement to put the card into the photo printer to upload from there.

So stay tuned!***
***After fighting with my cords, I finally got a couple pictures up. My Mom has more so I'll have to wait for her to share them with me. Which means, I'll have to steal them when I go up next.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I learned a valuable lesson yesterday.

I must never ever ever chop onions with my glasses on.

It will be worth the effort to go plaster my contacts to my eyeballs.

You might ask why?

Well, I decided to make French Onion Soup for dinner last night. Poor Monkey witnessed her mother bawling for absolutely no reason (not that she's ever seen me really cry before).

There was no stopping the tears. They just poured down my face. And she looked a little worried (not to mention quite insulted she wasn't sitting on the stove helping me stir the raw onions again, like last time).

So I'll just chalk it up to another lesson learned.

Monday, December 15, 2008

What do you have left to do?

An online forum I belong to was posed a good question today.

With only 10 days left until Christmas, what do you have left to do to prepare?

I have a very short to do list (for once in my life):

T's stocking still needs stuffing
Monkey's stocking needs a few things, too.
We need a trip to Toys R Us this weekend to finish shopping for Monkey and my nephew.
We have to finish wrapping gifts. T put a great dent in the pile last night.

Otherwise, I just have to enjoy the rest of the season.

Monkey and I are going to make cookies this week. And this weekend for T's potluck party at work on Monday.
My office Christmas party is Saturday night.
And I just want to enjoy my family.

So what do you have left to do?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Outdoor Christmas decor

Ok, so it's really winter decor with a little sparkle for fun.

We also went out for a walk in the woods behind our house.

So what if there's snow on the slide? It still slides!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

We saw the big red jolly guy!

We avoided a long line, we avoided an insane fee for a picture and we got Mrs. Clause and an elf too!

Alas, Monkey was scared of them and I had to be included in the picture. Well, not really scared. Just shy, which is normal when she's first meeting someone. Given time, she warms up to anyone. But, she didn't really have time to get accustomed to the faces so didn't get to be her normally friendly self.

If you didn't already know it, it's pretty darn cold outside! Look at that little red nose!

And, I didn't get to avoid the mall after all. T needed to get oil for his chainsaw. He needs to be able to clean up the mess in the back yard this weekend and the chainsaw is a Craftsman, so we needed to go to Sears. While there, we picked up Monkey's Christmas portraits we had done at JCPenny's. Let's just say I was very very VERY glad to get out of the mall. It was packed solid - which is WAY too many people for me in one place. As we were pulling back onto the I-95, we could see the traffic on the Stillwater Exit backed up almost to the highway. Insane, no?

I'm one happy lady to be back home. Now I need to put in a little extra time for work before getting ready for another hockey game. The walk from the parking lot into the Alfond Arena is going to feel really long tonight in this frigid air!

For the rest of you mall haters:

This is my public service announcement to you.

Thank you to my good friend T for the heads up. She understands my extreme loathing of the mall. I was complaining to her one day about how we'd have to brave the mall for Monkey's sake this Christmas season because every child needs the opportunity to sit on Santa's lap!

Not only does T take amazing care of my daughter when we need a sitter, she takes good care of me.

We're taking Monkey here this afternoon. Will she sit on Santa's lap? Who knows. But we're giving her the chance to at least see the big guy! Not only do we avoid the mall but we get a FREE photo opportunity! And we can fit in a little bit of window shopping downtown while we're at it. We haven't been able to spend much time down there and T (my husband - not my friend) and I do love the ambiance of Downtown Bangor.

And I've come to the realization that I need a better nickname for my good friend T. It could get confusing with all the T's in my life. HA

The Ice Storm of '08

While I realize it was extremely minor compared to the storm of 98, it was an ice storm nonetheless.

We were lucky and didn't have a loss of power at all, but we did have some damage on our property. And T was forced to climb onto the roof at 11 PM last night when we got home to empty the gutters because they were plugged and frozen.

I tried to post these yesterday, but my Internet was down all day long. So, here are a few pictures I managed to get hanging out of the windows in my house (it was pouring! I couldn't bring Monkey outside to get them).
And now it's firewood:

This tree doesn't want to die. We think the original damage/misshaping happened in 98. The tree is shaped funny. And lost quite a few more big branches over the course of the morning.

This one doesn't look like it broke. It just kissed the ground but may have survived.

So, Monkey and I finally ventured out around 4. The side road near our house wasn't plowed and hadn't been touched in hours, so there was quite a mess in the road. This picture was my attempt at getting proof of the IDIOT riding a pedal bike down the road! Unplowed icy mess in the dark! MORON!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Introducing the new me.

Here they are!

Please don't mind the wet hair and lack of makeup. I just got out of the shower and this is much better than the fresh out of bed look I was sporting earlier. You can also see the hair cut I got on Friday, albeit unfixed.

Now I just need to get used to wearing glasses again. They're making me a little dizzy because I'm not used to having to look through these 2 little lenses anymore after 5 or 6 years of having the lenses directly on my eyeballs.

We had a very successful morning of shopping. We just need to pick up one more thing for T and stuff his stocking (we both hit our patience limit after 2 1/2 hours at the mall and so I said "to heck with the stocking!"). I should be wrapping gifts while Monkey naps, but farting on the net is so much more fun sometimes!

We also had our first ever restaurant trip alone, just Monkey and I. We really don't get out all that much, you see. So at 18 months old, we finally did it. We went to Ruby Tuesday's while waiting to pick up my glasses. We had each a bowl of broccoli and cheese soup (LOVE) and she shared my salad from the salad bar. It went better than I expected, she made a minimal mess and she ate really well considering she was in public and is usually too busy flirting to eat.

All in all, a productive day!

The owner of a new face

It's the end of the year. The last month to spend your Flex accounts.

We over calculated how much money we'd need for the year, so now we're looking at losing money if we don't spend it now!

T has been after me for months to go get myself new eye wear. I've had the same pair of frames for over 7 years now. The prescription hasn't been updated since I bought them. After a canoeing/drinking mishap about 6 years ago where I lost my prescription sunglasses in the Fish River, I got myself set up with contacts. And I've worn my glasses once since then (during my c-section because they make you take your contacts out).

So Monkey and I are on a mission today. We're going to find some new glasses for me. With me home so often now, I'd wear contacts that much less, too (which will save us money in the long run because I'll be buying them less often).

Also on our mission list today: fill Daddy's stocking. Unfortunately, I'm still at a loss as to what to stuff it with! I'm sure I'll figure it out once we get to the *gasp* MALL.

For those of you that don't know - I hate the mall. We're leaving early enough to hopefully avoid crowds because they tend to push me over the edge.

Wish us luck!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Holiday decorating

I subscribe to a few magazines. In the art of being frugal, my Mom and I gift subscriptions to each other for special prices as well (I got a special deal to add a gift subscription to my Martha Stewart Living subscription, so send Mom one - she does the same for me with Country Living).

I don't have a lot of time to read them, but I do enjoy thumbing through them looking at ideas on how to decorate our home - and not just for the holidays.

When T and I first moved in together 6 1/2 years ago, our apartment was quickly overtaken by piles of my magazines. I couldn't bear to part with them because of the fantastic ideas held in their pages! T was annoyed at them, and I wasn't very fond of seeing the stacks either. So I devised a plan. I bought myself a big binder, sat down with a beer and started ripping apart my magazines, keeping anything that inspired me in any way or form. I put them in the binder, divided by room. And now I recycle my mangled magazines.

My favorite magazines to receive are the holiday ones. These are actually very difficult for me to rip up because most of the time, they inspire me from cover to cover.

One holiday decoration I have yet to invest in are stockings to hang on our non-existent mantle. I haven't found the right ones yet. I want them to be something special that survive the years. And I want us to all have matching ones, so until I know our family is complete, I don't want to buy any because I know I wouldn't be able to find one more later if we would need it. So I wait. And I look.

Country Home has a picture in this months issue (seen below) of stockings I have fallen in love with. The only thing I would want differently is to have our names on them. So I either need to learn how to knit stockings with lettering, or I need to find someone who can make them for me.

As for this year, I'll be buying Monkey a cheap stocking so we have something to fill for her (T & I already have cheap stockings from when we first moved in together).

And I'll continue to stare at these stockings and dream of someday having a mantle to hang them on.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The holiday season is upon us!

Last week was extremely busy for our household. We decided on Sunday we would make the long drive north for Thanksgiving after all. We had originally been planning on staying home and keeping it low key, just the three of us. So I spent every spare moment I had getting my work done so we'd be able to leave on Thursday (hence, no blogging). And once we were in the north country, every minute is always filled.

I snuck in a hair appointment on Friday and scheduled another for the Saturday after Christmas, in hopes of being able to squeeze one last cut in before April (our next expected trip north after Christmas).

I put out three of my Mom's five (six? seven? eight?) bins of Holiday decorations. She enjoys doing it, but I'm a bit psychotic about it and LOVE doing it. So I left her the tree stuff and did everything else. ha ha

I also got to visit with all of my grandparents a little, albeit quickly. I hadn't seen my Dad's parents since the 25th Anniversary party I threw in August for my parents and 2 sets of aunts and uncles. Unfortunately, with Monkey's nap, our timing was awful because they were leaving for church. But 15 minutes was better than none at all. Hopefully we'll have time to stop in again on our short Christmas trip.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We celebrated with T's family Saturday night at his parents house. My mother-in-law hosts Thanksgiving every year. Monkey enjoyed playing with all of her little cousins (and T's aunts and uncles were loving have all sorts of little kids running around again now that T and his cousins are all adults).

We arrived back home yesterday. Our brother-in-law was nice enough to run out to our house for us to turn up the furnace to warm the house before we got home. We keep our thermostat for the oil tank at 55 degrees. BRRRR. Instead of the layers we normally wear when we arrive home, our house was nice and toasty.

T brought up my Christmas and Winter bins yesterday. I only have three, but they're packed extremely full. I did get one put out last night. Monkey and I will hopefully get another finished today. She and I will take a ride out to a tree farm a few miles from our house later this week to pick up a plain wreath for our front door. And next Sunday, we'll take a family trip to a tree farm to cut our tree. We're having our annual Christmas party this Saturday. I feel a little odd not having our tree for it, but the longer we wait to get it, the better. I know I'll be picking it up off the floor a few times with Monkey this year. There is not a doubt in my mind that she'll pull the whole thing down. No breakable decorations for me this year (I need to find another way to display the beautiful hand made Santa heads a friend gave me - made by her Dad).

We'll also have to get outdoors later this week to make the outside of our house festive, too. I'm in need of greenery this year. I've always managed to use clippings from a tree that had fallen, but we've had no tree mishaps this year. I don't like cutting from live trees for my decorating.

I'll be taking lots of pictures later. When I say psychotic, I do mean it. I put little touches in every room of our house.

On that note, Monkey is playing with the bead strings. I think she's ready to put some more decorations out. It's time to light my Christmas scented candle, find some Christmas music on the radio and teach my daughter how to be psychotic about the season, too!

Dancing in the living room is required, of course (though that is normal on a regular basis in our house).
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