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White Elephant Gone Wrong

I don't like white elephant (WE) gift exchanges. Yes, they may include laughter and good-natured teasing (I prefer bad-natured teasing), but they include the stress of finding the perfect gift. Plus, I don't believe in re-gifting trash. A box full of old magazines is not a good WE gift. No one wants it. Therefore, you are done with the exchange if you pick this gift, which is what happened to Husband.

My viewpoint is not shared with most people. One of those people is my stepmom who in recent years has included WE exchanges at our family Christmas. 

However, this year I was excited. If you have read my blog, you will know Husband is a saver. (We do not use the word hoarder.) We're also trying to get rid of stuff we no longer need. Husband also has friends that give him funny, ridiculous items that he saves. You can see how all this would add up to somehow already having the perfect WE gift. 

So there was hope. I'd already identified it - the velvet picture of a matador ki…

Holiday Homestretch

Two weeks off, people. After today, it will be sixteen lovely days until I return to the world of meetings, projects and deadlines. Sixteen days. Christmas break is such a lovely perk to working in higher education. Those in the corporate world, feel free to brag about bonuses, profit sharing and the like. On your own blog, of course.

There are no big plans, other the the normal holiday family visits, which suits me just fine. Initially, I thought a few days would be spent painting the living room. It's embarrassing how long there have been drywall patches showing, but whatever. We have a baby. Nothing gets done. I've accepted it. However, Husband surprised me by having a painter take care of it last week. Hallelujah! Two days of freedom regained.

Now the home improvement snowball has started. New mantle for the fireplace. New vanity for the bathroom. Paint the hallway. Tile the backsplash. We'll be lucky if we get one done before spring.

We're also contemplating new furn…

Star Wars Costume -- Strike Two

So this was the second year we attempted a Star Wars halloween costume and it was the second time Bean was not having it. In an attempt to appease Husband, he has been allowed to select the costumes until she is old enough to have an opinion. As evidenced by the photos, her opinion is clear.



Wasted Saturday

I had a glass of wine last night while gabbing with a girlfriend. Then I had another. Then I lost count. As I heard the slurred speech coming from my mouth, my brain berated me -- Stop it. You are fine. Your nickname used to be Fun Jen, for god's sake. Two glasses of wine is not going to bring you down.

It brought me down. Hard.

Then it kicked me in the chin when the Bean woke up wailing at 5:15am. The super little sleeper decided this was the morning to lose it. Of course.

So Saturday expectations have downshifted. An early morning swim? Um, no. Yoga? Head still spinning, thanks. A large plate of cheese and crackers? That I can handle.

Bean and Trudy are napping. Husband is at the office. I'm drinking a Fresca and blogging to document how being hungover with a small child is worse than 8 a.m. econ class on Fridays. Yes, that bad.

Enjoy your Saturday, folks.

Bottoms Up

Is it really August 1? Seriously? Where has the summer gone? It's passed by exceptionally fast as I have taken on extra duties at work and now truly know the meaning of busy. (I know, I know, we're all busy, Jen. Quit bitching.)

August 1. Six weeks since I last blogged. Not that there haven't been stories to share. Husband's first father's day, the bean's first swim and yesterday - the major milestone of all first-time parents - birthday #1. My brain replayed the reel of the day she was born - how terrified I was, how I didn't feel an instant connection, how Husband initially took to diaper-changing much quicker than I did.

Now here she is, almost a full head of hair, scooting everywhere, eating mac 'n cheese (organic, for those who might judge) and drinking wine. We're so proud. (Of course the glass was empty, people. I hope you would already know that, but since this will be on the internet forever, I need to clarify.)

It's bittersweet when you&…

A little celebratin'

So much to write about; so little time. I'll take the easy route and cover my first mother's day. 

Crap folks, had I known this was such a big deal I would've had a kid years ago. Mother's Day is better than a birthday - equal celebration and no aging up. Fantastic. And I should be celebrated. None of this demure "oh you shouldn't have" attitude. Bring on the compliments! Bring on the gifts! I'm happy to receive them all.

Here are a couple reasons my mom-ship should be celebrated:

1. I let my kid chew on her report card every day when I pick her up from school. Husband does not allow this, but I don't care. Pink paper for everyone, I say.

2. In an effort to keep her occupied so I could prep for dinner, I let the Bean eat mail. It was just a credit card solicitation, but that envelope gave me 20 whole minutes. (Are we detecting a paper theme here?)

3. Sometimes I rotate between Tylenol and Advil just because she's fussy. Her liver will thank me late…

Fishing, Botox and the Cupig

This weekend was Husband's eagerly anticipated fishing weekend with the boys. I don't know the details of what goes on - besides fishing, obviously - but it seems to include a lot of meat. The grocery list he gave me included sausage, which we rarely eat, and previous trips have included meat wrapped within another meat wrapped within another meat. It makes me throw up in my mouth a little just thinking about it. He did take Trudy which left the Bean and me to hold down the fort.

It was a fairly uneventful weekend, which suited me just fine. The Bean loves the BOB stroller, so we tool several long walks around the Nelson. I did actually run with the Bean a few weeks ago and for the next week my calves reminded me how out of shape I am. Then I tried to run with Trudy last week and it was not a success. Maybe someday I'll actually get back in run shape. Sigh.

The Bean continues to amaze us with the most trivial of actions. She now purses her lip up to her nose and then blow…

Sentimental Monday

I buy The Kansas City Star twice a year; once on Red Friday and once on the day of the Royals' home opener. Like most people under the age of fifty, my news comes from the web. It also leans more toward entertainment (Halle Berry's pregnant at 46!) than world politics (damn you, North Korea), but whatever. So I was pleasantly surprised to see an article in the Star about Boone Elementary School on the front page.

Boone, a school in the Center School District, received the National Center for Urban School Transformation's Silver Award. Boone is also where my mother taught for the majority of her career. It was - and still is - a school with a large number of students from low-income families.

Once my mom married Charlie, we moved from Red Bridge to north of the river. She continued to make the commute even though there was no quick route to 88th and Wornall. Broadway was still a toll bridge and when she was short a quarter the attendant let her pay with a stamp or just waved …

'Lil Smokies and Costco Cake

Yeah, you read that right. When I fall off the wagon, I fall hard and on the way down I eat nitrate-filled meats and over-frosted cake. Damn you, co-worker, for getting pregnant and having a baby shower will all sorts of delicious, processed food.

If there is any good to be taken from this situation, my system was "detoxified" enough after nine days of clean eating for my  binge-o-rama to have quite an effect. The afternoon was spent slumped over, moaning and hoping no one came into my office. Of course, I can't precisely pinpoint which food caused this because there were so many. (Did I not mention the punch, sour cream dip or cream cheese mints? Oops.)

The sad thing was, I didn't even care. Here's why. On Monday morning, after seven days of eating like a freaking rabbit, I stepped on the scale. This was going to be fantastic. Every night I'd gone to bed with my stomach feeling like it was eating itself, but the pay-off was going to be worth it. As the number…

Week 1 Complete

Yes, I'm still doing the cleanse, detoxifying, eating so clean it hurts thing. While I was far from perfect, I did better than anticipated. Grade for week one - B+.

Some of the recipes were good, others I didn't make. By the end of the week, it was pretty much roasted vegetables for dinner. Husband had some pasta and I did steal a bite. It was so good. I also took a bite of his roast beef sandwich this weekend. Since I made the sandwich, I consider it a toll.

On the good side, I haven't had sugar, processed foods or booze. With the exception of the sandwich bite, no meat or dairy either.

Things learned:

1. When all you eat is vegetables, fruit, nuts and lentils, you will go to bed hungry.

2.  Spoonfuls of organic almond butter are a fine substitute when you can't have sugar.

3. The program says you'll feel bloaty and icky the first week. The program is right.

4. I'm not "springing out of bed" in the morning yet. (Does anyone with a baby spring out of …

Cleanse - Day 1

Started out the day with forty minutes of yoga, green tea and cleaning up a poop explosion courtesy of the Bean. (How can so much come out of something so little?)

If interested, the plan I'm following can be found http://www.wholeliving.com/216880/2013-whole-living-action-plan along with the recipes. Some things have been modified since I won't eat foods I don't like. (Beets, I'm looking at you.) I'll also rate the recipes I try using one through five, five being excellent.

8am: Blueberry-Mint Smoothie (4.5, surprisingly good, but used less avocado than it called for)
9am: Celery with almond butter
10:30am: Apple, Excedrin (this is not part of the plan, but I don't care so much about cutting caffeine)
11am: Trail Mix (3.5, it's good but would require something with chocolate to earn a 5. Old habits die hard, I guess.)
2:30pm: Lentil soup, salad with vinegar and olive oil, orange
3pm: Now is when I usually get an afternoon snack of the sugar variety. The v…

Accountability

This will be brief, but I'm hoping for some accountability. Tomorrow I begin a 21-day cleanse. This pains me as I've always thought the whole cleanse-detoxify-colonic thing was total bunk. (I still think colonics are whack.) However, last week my sugar addiction reached a new low as I found myself eating spoonfuls of frozen buttercream frosting multiple times a day.

So after an intensive weekend of yoga teacher training, tomorrow seems like as good a day as any to start this experiment. Week one is vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and lentils. I anticipate being mean as a snake. Husband best plan a work trip.

Puffers and Poop Pants

My blog post mini-hiatus is not due to lack of material. It's also not due to the new mom fallback reason of I just don't have time. (I have time to look at houses on the Reece & Nichols web site, so I have time to blog.) The real reason is, I get halfway through an entry and don't have a tidy way to wrap it up so it gets scrapped.

Previous unfinished posts have been about yoga teacher training (awesome), my parents selling the house I grew up in (not awesome) and turning 40 (awesome and not awesome simultaneously?)

Today's post, because I'm lazy, is yet another list of parenthood insights I have gained from the Bean.

1. Always go to the bathroom before you leave work to pick your kid up from daycare. This will be your last opportunity until your spouse gets home or the baby goes to bed, whichever comes first.

2. The baby will always have the biggest poop ever within an hour after a bath.

3. The should give out a Ph.D. in baby toenail trimming.

4. Your baby wi…

Snow Day Observations

1. Snow day #1 = awesome. Snow day #2 = cabin fever.

2. Staying in PJs for an entire day is also awesome. Day #2 = funk.

3. If you are craving something sweet (the story of my life) and don't have anything in the house, you can eat one of your kid's teething biscuits. Teething biscotti, if you will. It goes excellent with coffee.

4. When teething biscotti no longer cuts it, make snickerdoodles. There's nothing like lounging by the fire with warm cookies and a begging dog. On day #2, have husband hide snickerdoodles so you won't eat the entire batch by day's end.

5. When the entire family is confined to the house for the whole day you will clean the kitchen 72 times. Don't try to figure out how this is possible, it just is. At 8pm when you believe you've wiped down the counters for the last time - hallelujah - your husband will ask what's for dinner. Seriously. (I love you, Husband.)

6. An unexpected day home with your baby is just lovely. You snuggle an…

Mom Guilt

The mom guilt has arrived in full-force. Actually, the guilt train pulled into the station the day I went back to work. Dropping the Bean off at daycare sucked. (That's the nickname that seems to be sticking. Bean or Peanut. I must have a thing for legumes.)

Anyway, it's time to purge my guilty conscience. There's The Mom I Wish To Be (TMIWTB) and the actual reality of my parenting skills:


TMIWTB: Hand knits or at the very least orders sweet, one-of-a-kind baby clothing from Etsy. Me: Can barely sew on a button and buys baby clothes from Target online because they are cheap.
TMIWTB: Sends out baby announcements within the first two months of baby’s arrival. Me: Doesn’t send announcements because that’s what Facebook is for. Instead, uses Christmas card with pics of child as a pseudo announcement.
TMIWTB: Makes crafty thank you notes by hand with thoughtful messages. Me: Buys cards at CVS and scribbles thank you while the baby drools on the envelope.
TMIWTB: Has profession…

Matchy-Matchy

Christmas was extra merry this year, as Husband upped the ante on gifts with this beauty. I've always liked Italians with a strong profile. A good bike name is in order, but I can't do that until after the first ride which hopefully happens tomorrow.

Before you think Husband is the best gift-giver ever (though he is pretty damn good) it should be mentioned that he bought a Pinarello for himself, too. Yes, we're that couple -- matching bikes for Christmas. When I pointed this out, he explained they aren't matching because his is a gloss finish and mine is matte. Um, okay. If we start wearing matching jerseys, please mock us mercilessly.