ten things on tuesday

1. Working from home today and finding it really hard to concentrate. The first few weeks of January were so hectic and I felt like I was behind all the time, but I got three big projects off my plate, so now I'm getting all caught up, so I feel like I have some breathing room!!

2. Just made my next tattoo appointment for March... weee! As an aside, apparently my tattoo girl now doesn't work weekends. Uh, really?

3. Gwen's first dentist appointment was this morning. It went fine, and I like parts of the practice, but wasn't a fan of the hygienist. Even though I told her it was Gwen's first visit, she just kind of dove right in there with no preamble. Gwen was pissed! The dentist was better, talking to Gwen more and asking if he could see her teeth. Consequently she did a lot better for him... though she still wasn't a huge fan.

4. She cried when I dropped her at daycare though. I think she thought we were going to have the whole day together.  Sad 

5. I didn't have a big meal planned for today, but was just going to make this peanut butter and oat snack thing that I thought we could send in to daycare for Gwen, or she could have for breakfast some mornings. Except it calls for honey, and I've been drinking so much tea with honey lately to calm my throat, that I don't have enough left for the recipe. Doh!

6. Thankfully my throat is feeling almost back to normal today! Yay! But my ear is still hurting... boo.

7. Gwen's party is 2.5 weeks away, and so many people are coming!  Hmm, maybe I should start figuring out all those pesky details... like what food to have, where to get the cake, etc.

8. I picked up a roast beef sandwich from Arby's on my way home... most of the time we don't do fast food, but man was that good.

9. Its 61* right now... why am I so cold? 

10. Trying to figure out something good for Trav for Valentine's Day. I don't want to get him "stuff" but I don't know what to make for him, or what service to offer him (minds out of the gutter people) instead. Hmmm. Ideas? 


on the up and up

I was a little worried how this morning was going to go. A whole week home with Mommy or Daddy, and now she was going to have to get back into the swing of things again. But thankfully, it went perfectly! Everything went according to schedule, and after us talking it up yesterday and this morning, Gwen was super excited to head to daycare to visit with her friends. She was all smiles, waves, and blown kisses as Trav and her pulled away.  ::phew!::

This weekend was pretty lazy, which was just what we needed. A little more time to relax and get better. I had a hair appointment Saturday, during which Trav and Gwen hung out and went grocery shopping. That night I finished off my necklace board with the hooks:

I'm pleased with how it turned out and love how much easier it is to grab the necklace I want.

Sunday was all about relaxing and hanging out. Trav and Gwen baked a cake for Willy's birthday:

I think she enjoyed herself!

Trav's going to drop the cake off today over lunch.

Gwen is back to herself, which is wonderful. I'm at 99%... just need my throat to finish healing. I'm always fine in the morning, but by the end of the day, its very, very sore.

All-in-all though... we're on the up and up here!


do all things with love

Just a quicky before I run out to the dentist. Fingers crossed for a good appointment and a fixed tooth. I'm feeling optimistic today, hopeful that we've put all the "yuck" behind us and are on an upward route now.

I have a article I want to share today... it made my heart fill, bubble over, and sing. I couldn't not share. Enjoy:

A Mountain I'm Willing to Die On
(text after break)


hi, i'm going to be dramatic

Dear God,
Thank you so so much for continuing to have my baby get a little better each day. But as for all this other stuff of the last two weeks (credit card crap, fights with coworkers, ear infections, late night ER visit, HFM, strep, and a broken molar!), to play off of Mother Teresa's famous quote: Please, don't trust me so much!!


Dear Universe,
I apologize for whatever bad karma I put out there... it was completely unintentional, I assure you! And I promise to put some good karma out there just as soon as I can leave this house! Just please, no more. I don't know how much more I can take.

Good ju-ju,

Thankfully Gwen is feeling better and better each day. Her mouth only seems to bother her occasionally when she's eating, and there are only a few blisters left on her hands and feet. Her impetigo is almost completely cleared. Its so hard though being home all week and completely housebound though. We've read every book, done every puzzle, played with every toy, and colored with every pen or marker in the house. We had a dance party earlier, but it wipes me out. If it were a normal week, no problem... we'd go for walks, go to the playground, etc. Off limits at the moment. Well, we could go for a walk, except that is cold and wet out... so, no good for a sicky and a just now getting to be not sicky! Lol. I'm going to have to put on my thinking cap and come up with some new stuff to do, because we are both getting restless, and she's getting toddlery about it.

On a nicer note, her and Daisy are closer then ever.

Snack: apple and some oven roasted potato "chips" seasoned with rosemary and a touch of kosher salt.

Hopefully by tomorrow morning my throat will feel better because Trav is set to stay home, so I can head into work (48 hours on antibiotics... I'm cleared to go in). I have so much to do. (And crossing my fingers my dentist can fit me in.)

If you have some extra prayers, vibes, ju-ju, karma sitting around... send it our way?



Sorry for the lack of posting... its going to continue, I'm afraid. The update...
Mama's got Strep.

Yup. Ugh.

Yesterday was the worst. I was just so tired and weak and felt awful. The night before had been another horrid night of little sleep, between a wakeful babe and fevers of my own. I hit the doc yesterday, got a prescription for an antibiotic, took some advil, forced myself to drink a breakfast shake (since I had no appetite at all), and napped with Gwen. After that I felt way better (though, still pretty crappy!). Trav brought me some wonton soup for dinner, and last night Gwen slept straight through! Meaning 6 hours straight, plus another 2 after Gwen came to bed with us.

I feel like a new woman today, though my throat is still so so sore. Hopefully tomorrow morning the antibiotics will have had enough time to get my throat feeling better. In the meantime, eating small bites and drinking lots of warm tea.

Gwen's blisters seem to be shrinking now. They are definitely smaller then they were two days ago. They seem to be bothering her less also. Definitely good. She's definitely still not 100%, but she's more herself each day. Her impetigo is so much better too. We stop the medicated cream tomorrow.

Can't wait to have a healthy household again!! Hopefully Sunday we can do a major sanitizing, and put this all behind us.

Send us healthy thoughts! 


sleeping with my eyes open

It has been quite the (long) weekend, and this Monday finds me almost asleep at my desk. I'm going to power through, but pardon if this is a little less then well written. I'm going the cheater's route and doing a brief day-by-day synopsis.

Thursday late late late at night: Gwen woke up crying hard and burning up. 

Friday: Stayed home with the girl who was clearly sick... slept about 2.5 hours later then normal, took a 3 hour nap, in bed 30 minutes early. Highest temp 103.7*. Went to the doctor, double ear infection. Got antibiotic.

Saturday: Trav got up with Gwen like normal, but called me into the bathroom to check out her face... she had developed this weird rash around her mouth. Called the doc who told us to keep going with the antibiotic (no other signs that it was an allergic reaction), but to use hydrocortizone cream on the rash twice a day. Just stayed in and tried to relax.

Even when sick.. girl's got style!

Sunday: Gwen woke a ton throughout the night, thought it was the ears bothering her, but rash was much worse in the morning. Called and got an emergency visit to the doc. Doc didn't like the look of it, so changed out her antibiotic and prescribed an antibacterial cream for the rash. We head home and try to relax. Gwen is clearly uncomfortable.

Try to put her to bed (when she asked to go to sleep, almost an hour early!), instead spent an hour trying to console a wailing child. I kept asking her what hurt and she finally told me her feet. Turned the light back on and pulled off her PJs to find her feet covered in a blister-like rash, some on her hands as well. Call the on-call doc line, and get told to head to the ER.

So, off to C.H.O.P. we go. Thankfully it was almost empty, so we got seen quickly. The resident checked her over, then went to refer with his fellow, who came in to check Gwen, and then sent in the attending just to get a second (third?) opinion.

Apparently its Hand, Foot, and Mouth... a new/weird presentation of it that they had been informed of, but never seen. So the attending actually asked our permission to take pictures for a case study. Thankfully she should be better in 3 - 5 days... unfortunately there's nothing we can give her to speed up the process, just Motrin to help with the discomfort. And no daycare until she's completely cleared up. (On a nicer note, the ears seem to be cleared up. We were told to discontinue the antibiotic.)

We didn't get back home and into bed until 1, and Gwen was up almost hourly. I only got about 4.5 hours total and I'm exhausted today! Hopefully she'll sleep much better tonight.

She was a real trooper though, and I'm really proud of how she handled all the different faces coming to poke and prod her. Trav is off with her today, Wednesday and Friday; and I'm doing tomorrow and Thursday. Hopefully she'll be cleared up by then, with the weekend as a buffer, and will be cleared to return to daycare Monday.

Apparently she ate a good breakfast though and she's doing pretty well at home with Daddy. Fingers crossed that she sleeps well tonight, and is feeling better and better everyday.



Monday I took advantage of my quiet day at home to finally get around to working on the necklace organizer that I've been wanting to make for a long time.

I started off with a plain wood framed cork board, and painted the frame:

I had picked up this pretty paper a while ago:

Cut it down to just bigger then the inside edge of the wooden frame:

Then carefully slide it under the edge of the frame and smooth: 

I think it looks so cute, just as is! Next and last step is to add little hooks (the kind you can just screw in by hand), and hang my necklaces. I'll be sure to show a picture when I get the hooks.

Ta-da!  :-)


Daisy {semi-wordless Wednesday} :: ETA: PIPA and SOBA

Just a few pics of my sweetie pie Daisy, since the poor beast gets almost no picture love on here anymore...

We went to the tennis courts by our house on Monday to run around and work off some energy.

It was a lot of fun... though hard to get her so slow down for long enough to get any pictures in!!

Originally I was going to post just the above, but I felt the need to edit to include some information about PIPA and SOBA, bills currently being considered by the Senate and the House (respectively). You may have noticed Google's blacked out name, or that Wikipedia is completely blacked out. Here's why. Should PIPA or SOBA pass, any website seen as a threat to copywrite laws could be immediately shut down, as could any website which links to said site. This doesn't seem so bad until you think about it this way: any individual user on facebook could post a picture they don't own, and facebook could be shut down; I could post a link to a recipe on another blog, and if they post a video of themselves singing a song they don't own the rights to, they could be shut down, as could I.

Copywrite enforcement is serious. As a writer and photographer, I take it seriously. But these laws are NOT the answer. They are worse then the thing they are trying to protect against. They impact us all. Check out this video, then please, contact your local reps to tell them to oppose PIPA and SOBA.

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.


in the darkness

When I hear her cry out over the monitor in the quiet of the night, the tiredness can be so oppressive that it holds me in bed for an extra moment or two. I even find myself saying, "Shhh, shhh, shhh, Gwenie. It's okay." under my breath. Sometimes that's all she needs (the time... not my whisper from three rooms away!), and she drifts back off. When she doesn't though, I slide out of bed, slip on my PJ pants, flip off the monitor, and grab my sweater from the door handle as I pass by - slipping it on as I stumble down the hallway. I can do it all with my eyes closed. I have done it all with my eyes closed.

I'm so tired, but when I scoop her up from her crib, her weight is comforting. She's so small, my babe, but so big compared to what she was; head on my shoulder and feet hanging down past my thighs. Already our nights are changing. We don't nurse in the night anymore. We say goodnight to "milkie" after nursing before bed, before she gets into her crib, and don't nurse again until she comes to bed with us in the morning for our snuggle/sleep time. So comfort now - in the rarer and rarer occasions when needed - is in the form of mama's arms holding her tight while I stand, rocking back and forth, in the calm of the night.

I'm always eager to get back to bed, of course. Morning comes so quickly, sleep is so fleeting. But in the darkness, I can hold my growing girl and comfort her just by being close. There is something magic in that.


Linking up to Just Write.


crispy Parmesan turkey

On a nicer note, despite the rough start to the day, my day off was really nice. I was just the right combo of relaxed and productive. Made a craft (which I'll show later in the week), took Daisy to run around the tennis courts, put away laundry, read blogs, and of course, cooked!

We already made red meat this week, but I wanted a break from all the chicken... so I thought it was a great time to try out this yummy looking recipe I'd found in a magazine:

Crispy Parmesan Turkey

1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tablespoon parsley
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 large egg
4 (5 ounces each) skinless, boneless turkey breast cutlets
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoon olive oil
Lemon wedges

Heat oven to 200 degrees F.

In a pie plate, combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley, and lemon zest. In a bowl, beat egg with 1 tablespoon water.

Lightly pound turkey cutlets until they're 1/8 inch thick. Season on both sides with salt and pepper. Dip cutlets in beaten egg, then in breadcrumb mixture.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 cutlets and cook about 4 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through. Place on a baking sheet and put in oven to keep warm.

Repeat with remaining oil and cutlets. Serve with lemon wedges.

For a side dish I did Acini Di Pepe pasta (little round balls!) lightly dressed with lemon juice, butter, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, and parsley... to mimic the breading on the turkey. And green beans to complete the plate.

Best part, I had all the ingredients on hand, except for the turkey breast cutlets.


Sleeping in on your day off = awesome.

Being woken up by your CC's fraud protection dept calling = the suck.

$1000 on my CC that I didn't put there. Ugh.
Thankfully they cancelled the number and a new card is on its way to me (well, I'll get it in 5 - 7... another ugh).

Still, not how I wanted to wake up!


Trav had to go into work today because of problems with a project he's working on. Not anything his fault, but he spent about 5+ hours there today highlighting each issue, one by one, so that IT could fix it. No fun.

Gwen, Daisy, and I took a walk around the block. It was cold, but the fresh air was so nice, and we were bundled up warm. Nap today was overdue by the time we got done with lunch. An early wake up time + a bad cold = a tired, cranky Gwenie.

But then she slept for 2 hours and 40 minutes!

The rest of the afternoon together was beautiful. Just relaxing, reading, playing, and making this:

Chicken Pot Pie... so so good.

Girl was down by 7:30, too. Hopefully all the sleep will help kick this cold to the curb.

Recipe after break (different, better one then last time!).


Looking forward to a weekend snuggling and playing with this silly monkey...

nothing else planned, and I'm thrilled about that!

Enjoy your weekend!


food glorious food

(Meant to get this up this morning, but the day got away from me. Super busy, but super productive too!)

I cooked a bunch on Sunday, and more on Tuesday (when I worked from home)... I got to use some new recipes, plus my immersion blender and dutch oven.   ::warm glowy feeling::

(Pictures up top, recipes - as needed - below the break.)

From Sunday: 
Pomegranate juice simmering and becoming lovely pomegranate molasses.

Pan roasted chicken breasts... the secret is bacon grease. That's always the secret.

Oven roasted brussels sprouts, drizzled with just a touch of that pomegranate molasses. Mmmm.

From Tuesday:

Thai Peanut Sauce, which I served over Rice and Shrimp

picture  ©  She Simmers

Last night
(really, I made it Sunday, froze half and put the rest in the fridge for a dinner this week):

Pumpkin, Pear and Fennel Soup (from notakeout.com, but tweaked).

picture © NoTakeOut.com since I freakin forgot to take one... doh!

Recipes after break... let me know if you try something!


time flies when you're something something

We took down our Christmas decorations last night. It made me a little sad, thought I know its definitely time. I'll just have to find other ways to keep that "Christmas feeling" alive. Like maybe watching Carol of the Bells (my favorite Christmas song), Muppet Style, over and over again:

What's not to love about that?! I hit play anytime work gets too much for me lately, so I've listened to it 300,000x this week.

Since my post on mama guilt, I went to the aforementioned jewelry party and had a wonderful time! No guilt. Gwenie and Daddy did just fine together too.

Reading together in the a.m.

Which I like to hear... especially since Trav and I talked, and I am going to be joining Lauren and a number of other friends for her 30th birthday extravaganza in Las Vegas come October.  ::gulp::  It will be my first time away from her for more then a night. Trav's first time doing an overnight on his own. So many things to figure out. But I'll worry about them later. A LOT can change in 9 months.

Right now, I'll worry about this:

There is decor to buy, food and cake to figure out.
How is my baby going to be 2?!

A food post tomorrow, I've been doing a bunch of cooking.


mama guilt

Tomorrow I'm hopping in my car post-nap, and driving 2 hours to my good friend's place for a jewelry party. I'm not going there for the jewelry, but because it is a great excuse to see my friend and a few good mutual friends as well. I adore her and I'm so excited.

I also feel a little guilty. I'm leaving either right after Gwen gets up from nap or before she gets up depending on nap timing, and won't be home until after her bedtime for sure. I adore bedtime. With work/daycare taking up most of our waking hours during the week, bedtime is our cuddle time. Our quiet, snuggly, nursing time. Its when we can finally slow down and just be together. I feel guilty for missing that.

Here's the thing though, I shouldn't! As mentioned, this trip isn't about buying jewelry, its about putting time in on a friendship that I value. That's something that Meegs, the person, needs to do.

Ironically, my guilty is normally over something exactly opposite. Normally, unless its something important, I'm the mama who's staying home and not missing her babe's bedtime because, as you can probably tell, its really important to me. Its not that my friends aren't important to me... because they are! Immensely! But this time is so fleeting, that I want to soak up as many bedtimes as I can before she's no longer nursing, before she doesn't want me to sing to her, before she's too big for me to pick up and hold.

And I feel guilty for that too.

I'm working on it though. Pushing the guilt away and reminding myself that I'm allow both kinds of nights, I need both kinds of nights. I'm getting better at it, but not perfect yet. 

What is it about this damn mama guilt?
What brings the guilt out in you?


just write

Today there was snow on the ground when I woke up. Not a ton, but a good coating. If you had told me, back in October, when we were having a freak snow storm which dumped feet of snow on us, that come January a coating, a dusting, of snow would be noteworthy... well I probably would have laughed in your face. But here we are.

Of course, it was gone by the time I got into the city (and its going to be 50 come Friday).

Gone just in time for me to get to work and be verbally accosted by a person who works for the law office we share a floor with. Accosted might be too strong a word, but apparently this guy TALKS! ONLY! WITH! EXCLAMATION! POINTS! Which is especially affronting when its someone who's never even smiled at you before and the topic they want to discuss is where that guy from your office went... you know, that one who died last year. Maybe its the way I was raised, but I don't yell-talk at people about such things (Cancer! But he was so young! Was it fast?!), I use more demure tones.

Now, I almost wish for someone to yell-talk at me, as the next few days are being spent sorting through countless resumes - for a position, for internships, for a teach conference - and good gravy, it is dry, tedious, boring work. This weekend will seem all the sweeter for it, I suppose.


Linking up with Just Write.


state of mind

There was a blog post the other day by the bloggess, a really good one - touching and achingly real - about depression. It got me thinking about some of my family who struggle with it, friends who have and had, and of myself, and my struggles with it and with self-harm. Reading that post made me thankful that those times are behind me. I no longer need the physical pain to numb the ache I had in my heart, and to overshadow the sadness I didn't know how to control.

It made me thankful too, that separate from the self-harm, my struggles with depression seem to be mostly behind me.

But that doesn't mean that all emotional struggles are things of the past. Instead, that post made me stop and think about where I am emotionally and mentally right now, and realize some truths that need to be addressed. While I am happy for the most part, while I find great joy in my daughter, while I love my husband... I have been struggling in our marriage. And I had a realization lately, that it might be mostly me.

I confessed to Travis that I couldn't believe, after 11 years, we were still having so much trouble communicating. I couldn't believe how I could not read him. How I had so much trouble with interpreting his reactions and determining when he was really upset. I was met with confusion. He thinks all is well.

Further discussion led me to realize: 1) I actually do know better then I thought when he is upset about something, but I was apparently, accidentally presenting myself as thinking he was upset with me. Hence when I would inquire about his anger or frustration, he would think I was asking about anger or frustration with me and argue that all was fine. That was leaving me angry, confused, and frustrated. 2) I think I may have been projecting. Lumping all feelings from previous disagreements on top of the current. It is not healthy, and was leading to a negative and disparaging mindset.

Not to say that it is all me, or all that, but that those things are making things worse and are making my mindset worse. I have to change how I think about things.

So I'm taking a few small steps. Not all of them I'm going to share. But here are the ones I do feel comfortable putting out there. 1) Work on my phrasing and delivery. If Trav seems frustrated, ask if there is anything that I can help him with, or if there is anything he wants to talk about. If the answer is no, drop it and let him be. 2) Focus more on the positive. He does a lot for me, for Gwen, around the house. I need to spend more energy appreciating that. 3) Keep working on feeling like I'm nurturing myself, so that I can nurture our relationship. I don't know how I can be a good us, if I don't feel like a good me. 4) More sex.

This isn't going to be a magic fix. It isn't going to be perfect tomorrow. But I'm going to work on it, and reassess in a few months. Hopefully things will be looking up.



Another day, a new year. Gone is the year of the house fire. Gone is the year of my little babe, and here is the year when she turns 2, my ever growing, ever changing girl! Two!

So much has changed, and now is when we reflect on that... though really, only one more day has passed. What is it though, about New Year's, that makes it so inherently magical? The same amount of time passes between New Year's Eve to New Year's Day as between any other two days, yet somehow it feels like more. 

This year I decided not to do resolutions so much as just try to keep work on finding a balance in my life, and doing things that I want to do anyway. I'm going to try to keep up with my 101 in 1001. And I want to take better pictures again. Lately its just been too easy to snap a quick pic on my iPhone, which is convenient, but its sacrificing quality. I want to take more quality photos.
Are you doing resolutions? I'd love to hear them. 

As for the holiday itself... lovely. Four-day weekend, one of which was just Trav and I for a number of hours, one of which was just me, all-day. It was rejuvenating. A perfect way to end the crazy holiday season.

The Breakdown.
Wore: I'm a big fan of The Working Closet, and recently she recommended a pair of skinny jeans. I've never owned skinny jeans, and never thought I'd own skinny jeans. My thighs... not skinny. But the Lands’ End Ultra Fit Slim Leg jeans were supposed to be good on everyone, and they were on sale. And (cue tears) my beloved Joe's Jeans had just ripped. So I got them. And I LOVE them. They make you look skinny. Stop holding out and buy a pair. Tuck them into your boots (easily and comfortably!), and wear a soft sweater. Hot.

Saw: Friday we slept in a bit, then got up, got ready, dropped the babe at daycare and headed to see Hugo. Its beautiful, touching, fun... more then just the sweet, kid-friendly movie I originally thought it would be. There is so much more to the story then the trailer shows (which I didn't know, having not read the book). We both loved it. And the French setting, ses magnifiques!

Ate: After the movie, Trav and I enjoyed something super rare... a meal alone! We headed to Uno Chicago Grill... nothing super fancy, but definitely yummy food. Walnut-encrusted goat cheese salad for me (Mmmmm), deep dish personal pizza for him, all-you-can-eat soup for both of us. For dessert, fresh baked (still warm and gooey) chocolate chip cookie topped with a scoop of ice cream and some whipped cream. Top that off with eating everything while its warm, not having to stop anyone from throwing anything, and being able to talk about whatever we wanted, regardless of little ears and without the need for any "in your mouth, not on the floor" or "feet don't go on the table sweetie" -- well, it was a winning meal!!

Cooked: Homemade pulled pork BBQ. First time ever! Slow roasted a pork shoulder in the crock pot all day Friday, then Trav removed the fat and shredded the meat, while I made some fresh BBQ sauce (ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, liquid smoke, pepper, crushed red pepper, garlic salt, garlic powder, onion powder). Ate a little for dinner that night, but was easy to reheat in the crock pot for sharing on New Years Eve when Ro, Pat, and the girls were over. Delish.

I also made some chicken, corn chowder yesterday. I used this recipe as my base recipe, but eyeballed it and tweaked for what I did or didn't have on hand.

It was tasty and filling. 

My pretty new Dutch Oven... isn't she lovely?

Up for later in the week... roasted Brussels Sprouts and a Pumpkin, Pear, and Fennel soup!

Lounged: Yesterday, my "me day" started off with getting the babe ready and them both off to daycare/work, then hopping back into bed until 10:15!! I ate some breakfast, then took a long bath (can't remember the last time I did that!). Read a magazine while in the bath. Put away some laundry. Ate lunch (turkey, ham, and cheese, on 12-grain bread with honey mustard, and half an avocado pureed with a smidge of lemon juice, salt, and pepper). Pumped. Caught up on blogs. Put away more laundry. Then did dishes, dashed to the store, and came home to cook. Lovely.

Nothing extraordinary (well, yesterday was a little extraordinary!), but a promising start to the new year.

Welcome 2012, I can't wait to get to know you.