Current Obsessions: A Meme

I couldn’t find a meme to perfectly fit what I was wanting to write here, so here I am!  Authoring!  My first!  Meme!  Can you believe it?

It’s not that spectacular, actually.  Feel free to modify it and put it on your blog, but if you do, please leave me a link in the comments so I can read!

Current Obsessions

Book: A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle.  I just got the sequel, Toujours Provence, and hope to read it soon!  It’s fun reading all the little French phrases and actually being able to understand them (I took French in HS and college).

Snack: Oddly, ice.  I put some crushed ice in my water, wait for it to get a little melty and saturated, and then I eat it!  Plus side–it’s very low-calorie.  Minus side–it’s bad for my teeth and probably means I have low iron.

Beverage: Sparkling juice.  I haven’t had an abundance of it, but it’s my celebration drink of choice (even when not pregnant).  I think I’ll have a glass tonight as I watch the ball drop on TV.  Happy New Year’s Eve to me!  Peppermint hot chocolate is good, too.  I have some Ghirardelli stuff in the cupboard–yum!

Decor: Wall decals.  I find them so fascinating, and I can’t get enough of looking at them.  I only have one in my home (and one on my car), but this I plan to remedy soon.  I don’t talk about decorating much on this blog, but it is one of my dwindled passions.  (Seriously, who has time for all the passions when you have a kid and a job or two?  I have a hard time remembering what I did with all my time before!)  I have a long post on decorating coming on Sunday.

Actor: It’s still Robert Downey, Jr. for me!  Has anyone seen the new Sherlock Holmes?  Recommend or no?  I am eagerly anticipating the Ironman sequel, though sequels are rarely as good.

Movie: I finally saw Julie & Julia.  It was adorable, especially to someone who loves blogging and cooking.  I think it has led to my next obsession…

Actress: Amy Adams.  Seriously, even though she had bad hair in that movie she was so cute!  And I was, ahem, enchanted with her in Enchanted.

Hobby: Crafting.  Anja has had a scrapbook waiting in her closet since shortly after she was born.  After things in the photography world settled down last week, I set up “shop” on the dining room table and completed all the pages for which I already had photos printed!  I am not an hour per page type scrapbooker.  More like 10 minutes per page, and call it good enough.  This is actually only the second scrapbook I have ever done.  I’m not a huge fan of hobbies that pit women against each other in sneaky, might-not-even-know-it’s-there competition.  But I am far from a perfectionist when it comes to this.  It’s just something fun to do.  I hope/plan to do one book for each child we have, and the rest of their photos will just get put in albums and (hopefully, eventually) labeled.  While I’ve got all the supplies out, I’ve also made some cards to replenish my stash.  I have all sorts of card-making goods, but I’ve been buying them in the $1 section at Michael’s for years since I haven’t had time to make them.  And I did some other stuff I’ll hopefully get time to post about before Baby #2 arrives.

A photo to break up the monotony
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Actually, I think that’s all I’ve got.  Too much baby stuff in my brain to hold anything else!

Anja, 28 mos.

Darling daughter, it has been far too long since I’ve done one of these posts (5 months!  Sad!), so this will be a bit of a conglomeration of what you’ve learned and are doing since you turned two.  At 28 months, you:

  • speak in full sentences most of the time.  At 25 months:  “I pooped.  Let’s go change my diaper.”  Today: “Mama, I want to go play with my toys.  I will give the baby a bath.”
  • can name almost all your shapes, including semicircle and crescent.  Rectangles still give you troubles, though (they do look like squares, sweetie!).
  • sleep 10:00ish at night to 8:30ish in the morning most nights, with a two-hour nap in the afternoons.  However, you talk and sing yourself to sleep for both of these, and this process sometimes takes up to two hours.  You LOVE to hear your own voice!
  • have overcome (mostly, but not completely) your fear of other children and are learning to play with them.  Church nursery holds much fun for you, and you have never cried when attending, and you have even started to look forward to MOPS mornings, when “you play with the kids and Mommy plays with the ladies.”
  • stopped going to daycare in November.  Mommy is almost done with photography stuff for the season and has been enjoying much more creative play with you.
  • still love books and will “read” to yourself for 30 minutes at a time.  I love that.  🙂  You also seem to memorize most stories after just two or three readings, and you repeat them to your babies and stuffed animals, sometimes embellished with your own imaginative additions.
  • have become quite demanding and bossy.  We hear you disciplining your own babies and animals when they are “naughty,” though, and we know you understand why you are disciplined yourself.  It’s just funny to hear you chastising them.  We’re hoping this phase is short-lived, but we also hoped that about your stubbornness, which has hung around rather…stubbornly.
  • have started asking to pee on the potty fairly regularly.  You usually go within a minute of sitting down.  However, we’re still not “officially” training you, because everyone we talk to says you’d regress anyway when the baby comes.
  • use “my” in place of “I.”  I don’t bother correcting you because I think it’s adorable and you’ll only talk like this for a short time.  “My want to eat snack.  My doesn’t want to go to the post office!”
  • got to see Disney Princesses on Ice and told me proudly, “I can skate.”  “Oh really?” I said.  You showed me your mad skillz when we got home and proceeded to “skate” around the living room for several days.
  • built your first snowman with Mommy and Daddy.  His face melted off within the day, but his body is still there!
  • have started adding your own prayers to Mommy’s and Daddy’s before bed.  You usually just pray for things you see around you (“thank you, Jesus, for the closet”) or parrot our prayers for health and safety, but sometimes you get elaborate (One night it was “Thank you God for Jesus, the Lord of mystery.”  We couldn’t help but burst out laughing!).
  • have learned to hold up two fingers (sometimes) to show your age.
  • are constantly mistaken for a 3- or 4-yr-old because you’re so tall and talkative.
  • enjoy dancing to music, sometimes with props.  Watching you makes me smile.
  • have become a huge fan of Duplos.  You build lovely towers and houses.
  • are scared of pooping in the bath (even though it’s been months since it’s happened, you freak out about it every time you have a bath) and also scared you’ll go down the drain.  We don’t know why.
  • have favorite foods: sweet potatoes, broccoli, pizza, chicken, pasta, Juice Plus+ Gummies, and juice (a rare treat).
  • have foods you still dislike: carrots and leafy greens.
  • learned to play Candyland.
  • had a habit that lasted almost a month: taking off your socks and “picking scum” from your toes about 10 times a day.  Thankfully, it seems you’ve gotten over it for the most part!
  • are experimenting with different art mediums.  You seem to enjoy watercolor paints the most.

Snippets of Christmas

Alternately titled: I edited some photos and will post them because I’m stuck at home on Christmas Day.

Our tree died so we took it down on Monday. Now you can’t see any of it, because it’s covered with a mound of snow.
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And the tree decorations are sitting on the dining room table, waiting to be put away next week with the rest of the Christmas decor.
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Anja received LOTS of Duplos for Christmas from Husband’s family, so we spent a lot of this week doing things like this:
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And this:
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Until this week, I had only heard of the wonder of these cinnamon rolls, but now I can heartily recommend them. Pre-frosting:
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Post-frosting (oh, the humanity!):
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And on my plate:
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Today we scooped some snow off the balcony and brought it in to play.
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And Mommy’s Christmas present arrived in the mail, so I opened it. Oooooohh….
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We’re still hoping the snow will let up so we can travel to be with family this weekend. But in the meantime, I hope you’re able to snuggle up with your family or rock next to a cozy fire.
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And I hope your Christmas is white, but not quite as white as ours! 🙂
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Merry Christmas!

As is the case with most of you, I’m sure, I’ll be taking a little break to enjoy my family.  Hope you stay safe (especially you Minnesotans–be careful if you’re driving over the next couple of days!) and that your Christmas is cozy, family-filled and Christ-centered.

Christmas 2009

This card is from Husband, too, but I had to keep his name off (you know, to keep away the crazies!).  🙂

Becoming a Family of Four

Lately I’ve been mourning the loss of our family size.  I keep looking at Anja and thinking, this could be my last day with just her!  And then I tell myself that’s silly and try to get excited about the new baby’s arrival.

Am I completely nuts?  Have any of you ever felt this way?  I mean, I am so happy and blessed to be having another child, but I feel like a little part of me will miss these times I had with just her…

2009 Goals Update 12.19.09

I think it’s been since July that I’ve done this (so sad), but thought I’d at least see how I’m ending the year…

1. Spend daily time in prayer and the Word (I used to do this no problem, but since Anja was born, my discipline in this area has slipped)

This has been pretty good in the past couple of months.  I know it will probably lapse again when the new baby comes, so I will enjoy it now while it lasts!

2. Read 2 photography books

Finished with one. Started a second. Can’t even remember if I finished.  Sad!

3. Read 1 Photoshop book

Then one I was reading became obsolete when I upgraded to CS4 and Lightroom (which I have had since August but haven’t even installed yet because I haven’t had time to deal with learning new stuff).  Last night Husband brought me home two books from a co-worker about Lightroom, so that will probably be my new goal book.

4. Book an average of 4 on-location sessions and 1 wedding each month

Was able to quit my other job and stay home with the kids thanks to my wonderful clients. Now booking 2010!

5. Sell our townhome and purchase a home with a $500 less per month payment

Nothing.  Market is too saturated with foreclosures and cheap townhomes.  If we don’t sell in a year, we’ll probably end up refinancing and staying here.  Prayer appreciated!

6. Organize an office for myself (instead of using the dining room table…)

Still waiting for the house in which to do it.

7. Have a baby or get pregnant

Second part of this goal attained!

8. Lose 10-15 lbs.

This will probably carry over to 2010 in the form of 20 lbs.

9. Make healthier meals most nights each week

Healthy has been balanced, at this time of year, with feasts with family and friends and too many baked goods.  Oh well.  I’m trying not to make a fuss, as long as we’re healthy.

10. Reduce grocery bill to $250/month (this could be the hardest one…seriously)

I pretty much consider this, as I mentioned in July, a giant FAIL for the year.  We probably spend $30-40 a week just on produce, and I have no idea how to reduce other things without compromising our health (as in I’m not about to start cooking from boxes just to save $).  Nor am I willing to buy 47 bottles of Pert Plus and 13 bottles of Tide just to get in-store credit at CVS.  I do clip coupons whenever I can and take advantage of sales.  If any of you have been able to cook primarily from scratch (we do store-buy things like tortillas, crackers, cereal, some canned goods, etc.) for $250 a month or less, I am all ears as to how I can save some dough!

10 about Christmas

I got this fun Christmas meme from Gretchen (sorry dear, tried to comment with my link and had trouble again…hope you get to read this).

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1. Best childhood gift from Santa: Santa pretty much brought the same things every year: socks, underwear, candy canes, and some other trinkets. He’s gotten much more adept with the gifts as I’ve gotten older. Now I get gift cards for gas and groceries!  And some socks.

2. Best childhood memories: Going to my grandparents’ homes for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The two celebrations were different, but each special in their own way.

At my mom’s parents’ (Eve), there was usually just our family of four, my two grandparents, and my great uncle Ed. We ate our traditional meal (corve* and lutefisk, and some sort of red-and-green jell-o dessert cut into rectangles, always served on a separate plate), read Luke 2, Grandpa prayed (for what seemed like FOREVER when I was a kid), then my brother and I handed out gifts and we all opened them (one at a time, by age, youngest to oldest). And then Grandma finished up with her last 21 gifts while we watched and oohed and aahed appropriately at each pair of elastic polyester pants and crossword puzzle dictionary. We threw wads of wrapping paper at Grandpa, and he smiled his crooked grin and chucked it back at us when we weren’t looking. After cleaning up the wrapping paper and boxes, the menfolk and myself would sit at the table with a giant Tupperware bowl of nuts, still in the shell, and use nutcrackers to shell them. They were usually enjoyed with a can of 7-up or Pepsi.

At my dad’s parents’ (Day), we arrived shortly before noon to find Grandma bustling about the kitchen, putting finishing touches on the meal (varied from year to year). Other families would show up (everyone came to this celebration every year—our family, all 6 aunts and uncles, Grandma and Grandpa, and 9 cousins…almost everyone still shows up, too!), everyone bringing salad or vegetables or rolls to share, and we’d eat around 12:30 or 1:00. Dishes would get done, and we’d take family pictures on the staircase. I miss that staircase… Then the kids would pass out gifts, and we’d open them in the same style, one at a time, youngest to oldest. Grandma would end with her last 15 gifts while most of the cousins scrambled off to play with new toys and the older folks (and me) stayed to ooh and aah over every bathrobe, sweater and cookie jar. After clean-up, the trays of Wheatie Bars, caramels and Nut Goodies would get passed around. Friends and other, more distant relatives would show up throughout the afternoon, sometimes sharing a meal or bringing a treat. Games like Taboo, Scattergories and Pictionary were played in large groups around the dining room table. We would have leftovers and buns for supper and continue playing until it was time to go home.

3. Favorite Christmas cookies: Tough one. My mom makes way more bars than cookies, and they’re super-yummy, but my favorite cookie is probably a frosted sugar cookie.

4. Icky Christmas memory: Driving from Husband’s folks’ place up to my folks’ place on Christmas Eve through a snowstorm our 2nd year of marriage. We didn’t get there until LATE.

5. It’s not Christmas without: Jesus. He’s the reason for the season, after all!

6. Our Church Service: I remember Christmas Eve services at my mom’s parents’ church—all glowy in candlelight, kids I grew up with playing instruments and singing, scriptures being read. Loved it.

7. Christmas Pet Peeve: Feeling stressed when it’s supposed to be a time of tidings of comfort and joy.  I’ve been better with my expectations this year and made specific plans to NOT stress out.  The work part of December has driven me nutso, but I think I should be able to wrap up before the 24th, so I’m looking forward to some time to relax…

8. Favorite Christmas CD: Probably Christmas with Conniff, just because I grew up with it on vinyl, and it reminds me of so many good memories.

9. Real or Fake: Real, much to Husband’s dismay. I don’t know what he’s complaining about, though, because when his family has a tree, it’s real, too. That way we can enjoy the fragrance and we don’t have to store it, right?

10. I spend Christmas Eve: varies every year now. Sometimes with Husband’s family; this year we’ll spend it just the three of us. I am really looking forward to that, actually. I have plans for a special breakfast and to attend our own church’s Christmas Eve service.

If you play along, leave a link in the comments section—I’d love to read!

*Corve is apparently so obscure that I couldn’t find a single thing about it on the interwebs.  It’s a homemade sausage of sorts, containing some sort of meat (Mom?  Is it beef?  Pork?).  Husband’s family makes potato sausage, which is similar, but corve doesn’t have the potatoes or onions in it.  I kind of miss corve…