joy = packages in the mail

The Wii arrived and there was great rejoicing in the house.

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Baby hopes there is a game for wiggling and kicking. She would rock that game.

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Unfortunately, my Wii will only work in Argentina and we need to send it back for the US version.  It seems we have an Argentinian Wii.  Oh, don’t cry for me Argentina!

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joy = magically wonderful photos

I LOVE taking photos of my baby girl. It’s getting more challenging as she gets older… now that she knows how to make the recliner rock, and her goal in a photos session is to lunge for (and eat) the camera.

I love it when I try to get one picture, and somehow…by a gathering of all good blessings from heaven, I get an amazing picture that I didn’t even intend to. I end the “photo shoot” a little bummed, until I look at them on the computer.  Magic.

This is one of those magic pictures. It will be one of my favorites forever and ever.

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joy = winning!

All, I can say is Wii!!!!!!!!!

It’s still unbelievably wonderful to me, but the other day, I found out that I won a Wii and a Wii fit from Y. I AM SO EXCITED.  I signed up to win on a whim (ha ha), but never thought I’d really win. I’ve entered a lot of blog give aways, and never ever win. I decided they were all rigged and I generally don’t enter anymore.  I thought a Wii fit would be so cool, so I entered anyway. This is a toy is more expensive than we would ever buy – ever.

Hubby truly believes I won because my comment was number 42, and the number 42 is the meaning to live, the universe, and everything. It was meant to be.

I cannot wait until this toy comes. What a fantastic Christmas present.  Maybe there is a Santa…and maybe he works at Nintendo.

Thanks Y!

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joy = this moment…

Perfect November Moment

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It is 11:20am. Baby is five minutes past the two hour mark of her morning nap, which means I am rejuvenated and anticipating her waking up soon.

I hear Christmas music playing on the radio, the quiet hum of the baby monitor, and most importantly, nothing else. It is quiet.

I smell vanilla lotion on my hands. I smell the chocolate-banana-oatmeal muffins that are cooling on the stove.

I still taste the one muffin that I already ate. There are now four pans, minus one muffin, cooling on the stove.

I feel the warmth of the fire on my arms. I’m sitting in my green armchair, which now sits next to the fireplace (it has recently been moved). There is a fire going and my dog is curled up in front of it – as close as she can be. Her head is laying on the brick with her nose mashed up against the screen. I’m content, warm in my soft chair.

I see raindrops on the windows. It is gray out and has been raining heavily all morning. I see the baby’s toys in her toy basket, all picked up off the floor.  I see a clean coffee table. I see a clean kitchen, with four muffin pans (minus one muffin) cooling.  I see a green light on the baby monitor.

It is a perfect moment in a cold November morning.

And I can’t wait for my baby girl to wake up.

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joy = things that work well

What makes me joyful? Things that work well, which is why I love Shannon’s Works-For-Me-Wednesday. Today, small portioned casseroles work for me.

I finally have a menu for the rest of the month (first time I’ve made a full menu since baby was born), and it includes a lot of casseroles.  My goal is to make 3 casseroles every time I make one and keep the extras in the freezer for future weeks.  Additionally, we really don’t like reheated left-overs, which is hard when there are only two of us eating a whole casserole (baby isn’t quite there yet).

So here’s what works for me… I make casseroles in loaf pans.  One casserole fills 2-3 loaf pans, depending on the recipe.  It’s a 1 qt dish, so if the casserole would normally be in a 2qt pan, I just use two of mine.  Each of my pans makes one dinner (and sometimes a left-over lunch portion for hubs) for us, with no left-overs to reheat.  When I cook one, it’s the first time it has been cooked.  Today, I made three Sausage and Potato Dinner casseroles.  I cooked and ate one of them, and we have five more dinners in the freezers, plus five more lunches for hubs.

This also works great if you have an unknown amount of people eating on different days…just take out the number of pans from the freezer that you will need that night.  I’ve been able to accommodate unexpected guests by just taking out an extra pan to defrost that afternoon.  I feel like I can always say, “no problem…there is plenty of food for more; come on over.”

I especially like these glass pans by Anchor Hocking.  They are hold just over a quart, come with a rubber lid, and are less than $4 at Wal-Mart. I still wrap them in foil to include cooking instructions, and just to provide another layer of air-tightness.

Be sure you write the name of the dish, the date you made it, and cooking instructions on every single dish.

Works for me!

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joy = brave sweat

First of all, joy = this little one…

who is already six months old.  Oh, my heart is so very full.  Is it just me, or is she the cutest baby ever born into this world??

But, my main point today is that joy = brave sweat. Oh yes, for two days in a row, it does.

In the last six months, I’ve walked and gone rollerblading some. I actually went to a stroller exercise class once, and decided I desperately needed a better sports bra.  However, even with those attempts at calorie burning, I haven’t felt like I’d really taken up exercise again.  I’m almost at my pre-baby weight, but my body is NOT where I’d like it. One stinkin’ bit.  Granted, my pre-baby weight was up about 15 pounds anyway, but still…I do not look like I did pre-baby. No, sir.  It’s time to do something, and I’ve been trying to figure out what to do. It seems silly to start a running plan, since the weather will soon be too temperamental to carry it out fully.  I refuse to leave baby girl in the gym nursery where I currently workout.  No way. I figure the kids that work in there probably just got fired from working at the tanning salon next door.  I stopped by tonight (I’ve never even seen inside) – there were a handful of 5-8 year olds all watching TV and one girl working.  My mommy gut says “absolutely not!”  I might consider leaving her with the childcare at the Y, if I switched to the Y, and after she is crawling and can play more independently.  We’ll see.  In the meantime, I concluded that my only option is to go workout at night.

Yesterday evening, I did a step class.  The whole thing. I pretended I was on Biggest Loser and had Bob and Jillian yelling at me in my head. YOU’D BETTER NOT STOP! YOU DON’T NEED WATER! KEEP GOING UNTIL YOU PASS OUT OR DIE!!! And, miraculously enough, I did keep going (ok, I did get some water…but no long water breaks at all) and I didn’t pass out or die. Hurray for me!  I just wanted to tell every single person there that this was my first workout post baby, but I refrained.

Tonight, I was really, really brave. I went to the Hip Hop class at the gym.  Just saying that makes me want to laugh.  I’m the whitest non-hip hop gal there is.  And now, I also carry the label of suburban mom….just to top it off.  But, a workout in the form of dance sounds like fun…so off to Hip Hop class (he he he) I went.  And I did it…pretty darn well, if I do say so myself.  The instructor even complimented me on my dancing ability and guessed that I used to dance, which was a little hard to answer given my varied dance background.  I did it. Go me!

There’s more to the Hip Hop story (yo…that feels like there needs to be a “yo” there) though…  I get in there and it ends up just being me and ONE other GUY. Oh my dear goodness.  Seriously!?!?!?  And he was totally Mr. Hippity Hop guy. Big baggy pants, big hoodie.  And me – Miss overweight, awkward hair (not quite long enough to pull up yet), uncoordinated, suburban mom….who hasn’t worked out in six months.  The setup of this was enough to make me laugh. I think I really did.  I thought for a half second about leaving, but decided to stay. I can do this….I’m there, I’m doing it.  It went pretty well.  We learned sections of a dance routine and just kept building on it and then we’d start from the top and do it all.  Basic dance training stuff.  I started doing better when I got over the feeling that I was in Flashdance or something….it didn’t help that it was just a gal teaching me and one other guy.  I just kept thinking about Flashdance or Dancing With The Stars and I would want to laugh out loud.  And it’s hard to be hip-hoppish when you are laughing out loud, so I made myself stop thinking about Flashdance.  The only other distractions where some of the moves….the Charleston, the grapevine, the Mashed Potato, and a foot kick thing we did at Jr High dances in the 7th grade (which made me want to yell out “OPP? Yeah – you know me!”)….that all were done a little more hip-hoppy and had different names.  What goes around, comes around, I guess.  It helped me out though… she was all impressed with me, and I was like… yo hip hop gal, that’s just the Charleston (which we also used in Step class yesterday).  The one thing that wasn’t there was the New Kids On The Block move that we did in step class yesterday.  Bummer, cause I killed at that one yesterday.  I was right on it….oh yeah.

So, the last couple days have provided for an entertaining journey, but I feel great and am so proud of myself for getting back in the heart palpitating swing of things.

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joy = baby clothes that fit

I made baby another dress. I decided to do this without a pattern and (even though it’s about the simplest design ever) it took me 3 tries…it took forever!  It wasn’t such a problem to not have a pattern, but it was a problem to go without directions. I kept doing silly things and ruining the whole project. Well, good thing that the dress only took about a half yard of fabric, or I would have been in real trouble.

This dress is long, but fits around, which is just perfect for a growing baby.

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