Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Food and Wine

Just a few things we have been eating and drinking as of late.

Pizza with caramelized onions, ham and mushrooms topped with cheddar/gruyere cheese

Charles Shaw Cabernet - don't knock the 2 buck chuck! (well $3 here) from Trader Joe's

Asiago cheese, crackers and marinated artichoke hearts with some Charles Shaw Merlot

Pizza with fresh grated asiago and parmesan cheese

Caves du Fournalet Cotes du Rhone - Another Trader Joe's wine!

My homemade meatballs and sauce

My recipe was in the local newspaper about a year ago!

Hope I gave you some yummy ideas for dinner or just a snack!

Have a great rest of your day! Buon Appetito!


Just Not Feeling It

I just haven't felt like blogging. I think the winter doldrums are getting to me. I know they shouldn't be this year. I should have nothing to complain about, because we have been blessed with an extremely mild winter so far. But, I long for the warm, long days of summer.

Gwen and I are climbing the walls. Her nap schedule, or should I say lack there of, makes doing anything outside of the house almost impossible. For instance, my friend Carrie just sent me a message to see if I wanted to meet here and her daughter at the zoo, but Gwen just went down and wont be up for at least two hours. So, on a wonderfully mild late-January afternoon I am sitting at home watching the walls close in around me.

Don't get me wrong, I love being a stay-at-home mom and I am completely blessed to be able to do it. I am just not quite use to staying in everyday. When the weather really gets nice, I know things will be better.

I know Gwen has got to be bored. She was so use to playing with other kids. We have just been hanging out at home and watching way too much Tinkerbell! I feel like such a bad mom (hangs head in shame). We have done a couple things outside the house - we went to the library, out to lunch with Dolly and to Target. Nothing special, but at least we got out for a bit. I really need to get her signed up for some tot classes. I looked into programs at the library, but they have theirs at 1:30pm. When Gwen naps, it is usually at that time. Back to the drawing board. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

This past week we took the front off of Gwen's crib, because we are so afraid she is going to fall climbing out. Well that lasted for all of about three days. She hardly napped or slept at all those days. So, at about 10pm Thursday night, the front of the crib went back on.

We are also dealing with a severe pacifier addiction. I do not know how I am ever going to break her of it. I have been reading up on it, but nothing is working. I am so torn - I want her to be happy, but I know she is getting too old to be needing/using a pacifier as a means of soothing herself. I even lied to the pediatrician and told him she was done with the paci. When we are out she is good. I think it is just being home so much right now.

Ok, so I am done throwing myself a pity party. I need to put on my big girl panties and figure out fun things to do to help Gwen - 1. nap/sleep better; 2. give up the paci; and 3. stop watching so much Tinkerbell!

I am going to take advantage of her nap right now and do some research!

Have a great rest of your day!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Socially Awkward

The older I get the more socially awkward I feel. I am so uncomfortable in group situations, especially when I don't know anyone. Last night was Joe's holiday work party and I was so out of my element. I talked his boss' wife's ear off. I know I was rambling and probably over-sharing, because that is what I do when I get nervous and have a couple glasses of wine. I brag about unimportant things and dwell on sad things. I kept looking at my watch counting the minutes, knowing I was being completely awkward and probably making things awkward for said boss' wife. I wanted to go home so badly and be in the comfort of my home where I could be me.

After events like last night, I don't want to leave the house for a very long time because I am embarrassed by my behavior. I assure you, I wont be going back to Joe's work for quite sometime.

I try to change, but it always ends up the same. I get home and I don't like me. I stay upset with myself for days and I am in just a bad mood. So here we are again at that stage. I just hope I didn't say anything that will cause any issues for Joe. I am pretty sure, his boss and his boss' wife will just feel bad for Joe and think that I am certifiably crazy.

I know I am over-thinking this and should not dwell on it, because it is over and there are more important things to worry about. I need to stop throwing myself a pity party and just get on with life. So I will pick my self-pitying-self up off this couch and have a good day.

I hope you all have a good day as well. Happy Tuesday!


Friday, January 20, 2012

Let it Snow!

We are getting the first really big snow this winter in the Chicagoland area. I can't believe we are more than halfway through January and have only had a few measurable snows this winter. It is so nice not to have to go out in it. I am not a confident driver, so being snuggled up at home with Gwen works perfectly well for me. I only have to worry about all my loved ones being out in it.

Gwen and I worked on our Valentine's Day window decorations today. We have been in our condo for over 7 years and have never decorated the window for any holiday before. It was so much fun. I put tape on the hearts and Gwen placed them (well most of them) where she wanted them. She then got out her crayons and decorated them while they were hung-up. It is so amazing watching how her mind works.

Hopefully tomorrow we will dig out and head down to my parents to go sledding. The weather is suppose to be nice tomorrow (well better, as in NO SNOW). I need to get the little one outside. We have been cooped up all week.

For now though, I am going to go make a cup of tea and cuddle with Gwen under a big blanket and watch Finding Nemo.

Be safe if you are out tonight! Have a great Friday Night!


Monday, January 16, 2012

First Steps

One year ago today Gwen took her first unassisted steps. This may be the only milestone I actually know the exact date for. I am such a bad mom (hanging my head in shame). I have no excuse as to why I was not paying close enough attention to document when she rolled over, or started crawling or cut her first tooth. Most first-time moms are so diligent about these things. All I can say was that I was living in the moment and not about to stop and write down what was happening.

Tomorrow we go in for her two year doctor appointment. I always forget to bring in her book for the nurse to fill out her stats. Hopefully I will remember tomorrow! If not I will come back and write it here.

I hope you have a great evening!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Condo Dweller

I am a condo dweller, not completely by choice. It has its pros and its cons.

A little back story...
Joe and I lived in South Carolina for two years (I know, why would I move back to Illinois, right?). When we moved back we had arranged to live in my grandmother's house so it would not be vacant (she had passed away earlier in the year). Joe and I lived there for a few months when one of my aunts decided to sell it, and sell it quick she did. We had a month to find something. So here we are, condo dwellers. It was a flip so everything was freshly painted, new carpeting and new appliances. We only thought we would be here a few years, then the economy tanked. There are so many foreclosures in our area, there is no way for us to sell (we had it the market for awhile and had no bites).

So here we are over seven years in our condo. The longest we have lived in one place since we got married. We were a little like gypsies our first six years of marriage. We lived in five different places! That is a lot of packing and unpacking. Our next move will hopefully be our last our second to last. I really hate packing!

There are a lot of advantages to being in our condo. First of which it has afforded us the ability for me to be a stay-at-home mom (now). We are blessed with a small mortgage and low expenses. We also don't have to worry about yard work (too much anyways). The place cleans up pretty quickly. We have no stairs to worry about Gwen falling down. And it is easy to keep an eye on her when I am cooking or doing dishes. It also affords us much more family time, since we don't have as much to do.

The downsides to be a condo dweller include crazy neighbors below us, community property that certain people don't take care of (crazy people below us), changing demographic in the area, not a lot of privacy, no yard and no sense of personal space.

I know we are completely blessed to be in the situation we are in and the pros definitely outweigh the cons, but somedays I just want my little house with the white picket fence and a vegetable garden. Until that day comes though, I will be content with the roof I do have over my head.

Here are a few picts of our dining/living room.

Welcome to my humble abode.

I will take you on tour of the rest of our condo soon (when I get the rest of the rooms photo ready!).

Until then, enjoy the rest of your day!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Two Years Ago

Happy Birthday Baby Gwen!

This time two years ago I was in the hospital waiting not so patiently for the arrival of our baby girl! Gwendolyn Clarice was born at 2:17 pm, January 10, 2010 weighing 5 lbs 14 oz and was 19" long.

Here is a quick birth story:

I started having contractions on Saturday at 4:30pm. Went to the hospital at 5pm having contractions 7-8 min apart and was 3 cm dilated. I progressed to 5cm rather quickly and my contractions were coming every 1-2 min. I received my epidural, was put on pitocin and had my water broke at about 1:30am. My labor began to stall out so the took me off the pitocin and then started it again only to find out my OB was at a funeral. So they took me off again and let things slow again. At about 1pm on Sunday my OB called back to say she was on her way. I started pushing at 1:30pm and Gwen was delivered at 2:17pm. As crazy as my pregnancy was, my delivery was easy and uneventful!

It is hard to believe it has been two years. Watching her grow and now being home with her everyday, has given me so much joy. I love her more then I could have ever imagined. The challenges and heartache we suffered to get her was all worth it in the end. One day I will sit and write about our fertility issues, but for today I am just going to concentrate on the little girl who has blessed us in so many ways.

I can't wait to see what she becomes, but I am not rushing the time. It is going by too quickly as it is. So for today, we are going to enjoy this warm January day and celebrate her first two amazing years.

Have a great rest of your day.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Lesson Learned

So I learned a very important lesson today. Not anything new, but a reminder that haste makes waste. I was in such a hurry to get a finished disk out to the couple that we shot their engagement photos, that I spelled engagement wrong on the disk label.

I was/am mortified. Thankfully it was one of Joe's friends, but it still made me feel so unprofessional. I quickly redid the disks and Joe dropped them off. I don't know what I would do without him. He is a keeper. He lets me have my meltdowns and then helps me get back up.

In light of this current event, I am now creating a checklist to go through before I release any material to a client. When you are getting a business started, mistakes like the one I made today can cause me to lose clients and potential clients.

Thankfully no major damage was done - only to my pride. I will use this incident as a learning experience and make sure that it doesn't happen again.

Well, I am going to try and salvage the rest of my day. Have a great rest of yours!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Day at the Park

We have been so blessed with a mild start to winter. I am really hoping we don't make up for it in spades as the winter progresses though.

Gwen and I took advantage of the wonderful weather and took a little walk to the park. She love the swings.

My big girl climbed up on the playground equipment all by herself!

The fresh air was so nice and helped Gwen fall asleep when we got home. She is getting back to a normal routine. The holidays really disrupted it. We spent a lot of time at my parents and she has a hard time sleeping there. She just doesn't want to miss a thing.

We are also currently dealing with not sleeping through the night. Gwen goes down in her crib, but wakes half-way through the night and wants to "cuddle in momma's bed." Not that I mind, but she should be sleeping through the night. Especially since she will be 2 next week.

I need to go for now. Gwen is requesting my company while watching Tangled!

Have a great rest of your day.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Goodbye 2011

I am so happy 2012 is here. I have great hopes for this year. 2011 was a tough year for us. Gwen was plagued with ear infections, which lead us to having tubes put in. After 4 months of constant infections, we were finally able to get the procedure done in April. Joe's dad's health began failing in February and he never recovered. We said goodbye to Jack in May.

The summer heat was oppressive here and kept us indoors - a lot. Joe's new job (which he began in February) had him working most weekends, which didn't give us much family time. My job was getting very stressful.

Fall proved to be better then summer as we adapted to Joe's new schedule. Also, the weather was considerably more tolerable. Joe and I took some day trips. We went to several wineries in Michigan and spent some time in Chicago.

Fall did have its downsides too though. I was getting really burned out at work and missed being with Gwen. So after one really rough day, Joe thought it was time I put in my notice. My last day was the day before Thanksgiving and I haven't regretted quitting one bit.

Being home with Gwen every day has given me so much fulfillment. I feel my creativity returning and I am completely content. I have found purpose in my life, for once.

I have great plans for this 2012. I am excited to see what this year holds for us.

May 2012 be filled with good fortune, good health and good news for all of us.