Illustrious Start

On the first Sunday of the new year I did what I always do and figured out what we were eating for dinner for the week followed by going to the grocery store. I was excited- two vegetarian meals this week- and like half of America I had kale on my shopping list (only to make kale chips, it is foul in all other forms). We were going to have spinach and corn enchiladas so please imagine my face upon the discovery when the grocery store was out of both fresh spinach and cilantro. Two days before they were completely out of arugula (necessitating a 2nd trip to a 2nd location of the same store, also out of arugula) so my feelings about this were less than pleasant. I reversed course and bought the fixings to make chicken pot pie, only to get home, make the chicken and begin veggie chopping to realize, nope, I forgot potatoes. And chicken pot pie without potatoes is pretty much chicken soup in a crust. We ordered Chinese.

Is that how it is going to be 2015? Last minute delivery, nary a vegetarian entrée in sight? I will say the Chinese was awesome, we tried out Lao Sze Chuan for the first time and we are now sad we did not find them sooner. I opted for their famous crispy lemon shrimp, it was both lemony, crispy, and famously delicious. So maybe 2015 will be the year of new discoveries and not forgotten potatoes and absent spinach?

Regardless, I have reservations about the coming months. That and as you might have guessed, I forgot the kale.

Bonjour, Farewell….

Parenthood (for me) has been a lot of little moments that add up to the smacking realization that life has changed. A few years ago we spent a lot of time contemplating our New Year’s Eve plans (my favorites always being a smaller dinner party with good friends) and this year we both kind of shrugged off the idea of doing anything. The biggest reason being the competitive blood sport known as “Acquiring a New Year’s Eve Babysitter” which if you are unfamiliar with, please count yourself lucky. Even if you manage to finagle the perfect person to come watch your special snowflake you will then use their college savings to pay for the honor….and yeah. No. Too many years of spending over an hour getting a cab, traversing on the train with all the other too-sweet-sparking-wine-imbibing-drunks…. nope.

This year we will miss seeing our friends (having the small party but see babysitter situation above) but we have grand plans of grilling steak, drinking a nice bottle of something, and seeing out the year much in the way we lived it- as a little family, full of quirks and good memories and casual moments. We often eat dinner in our pjs (with cloth napkins though, and real plates, some habits never die) and retire to the living room to watch television or read together, and if I had to guess, I’d say our New Year’s Eve will contain many of those elements.

I know that in just a few years we will be back on the NYE circuit so for now I’m happy to be where we are in life. I’m looking forward to the fresh new year, full of possibility and milestones. As far as my resolutions….here we go:

  1. I want to eat better at home, namely by eating more plants and less sugar
  2. I resolve to take the Friday and Monday surrounding Easter off…I never do, and I always regret it as we get back into town late Sunday night
  3. I want to put down the electronics more often, particularly in the evenings
  4. I want to cook more, which is something I’m really passionate about and enjoy
  5. I want to find time for a few more date nights with my husband
  6. I want to get my camera out more, both behind it and in front of it

Nothing too earth shattering, a little of the same old same old. 2014 was a pretty good year and I’m hopeful hat 2015 has more good things on the horizon. But before we say adios, a quick look back at 2014…….

As far as the blog goes, my top read posts were as follows:

As for the year in photos, here goes.

We celebrated Gracie’s first birthday with a Winter Onederland party…..

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We celebrated Easter in Michigan….

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We enjoyed Chicago…..

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We spent a week in Harbor Springs, Michigan, which is a little slice of heaven on earth….

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Gracie dressed up as an owl for Halloween….

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Gracie had an accident in November, resulting in her first ER trip and lots of follow up visits (so far = all good/all clear/whew)….

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We had family photos taken….

 

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We struck out meeting Santa….

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And we had a wonderful Christmas in Utah….

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Not pictured….countless dinners with friends, visits from Grandparents, date nights, numerous trips to the park and the zoo, grilling out, sailing, outdoor festivals, so much snow, a Polar Vortex or five, sugar cookie decorating, Frozen viewing, book reading and dog wrestling.

Cheers to a good year!

 

Holiday in Review

So, backing up a few days on the calendar, Gracie and I flew out to Utah the Friday before Christmas, affording us a luxurious 7 days and some hours at my parents house. I haven’t spent that much time at home since my first Christmas break in law school (or perhaps college?) and it was nice to actually be able to spend time doing the “little” things rather than trying to cram a few big things into 3 days before turning back around. B joined us a few days later (billable hours are the devil’s work) which gave me ample to opportunity to tell him just how tough it was flying with Gracie on my own.Christmas3

Please note: don’t get on airplanes at bedtime with toddlers. Also, airplanes don’t serve milk, LESSON LEARNED. Double also, my Dad was on the plane but in the cockpit in the extra seat up there, so it was this cruel “help is so close…yet so far” conundrum. Oh well, we made it, as did our luggage, and that is what matters, amirite? My Mom, brother, and I spent a few days just the four of us (nephew hadn’t arrived/Dad was flying/B was in Chicago) and we filled it with things like sushi dinner (Gracie = not a fan), Target trips (eh, whatever, they sell diapers and sometimes you need diapers), a trip to historic 25th Street in Ogden (I bought a vintage hankie embroidered with a map of Chicago), another trip downtown to check out the new Citycreek area, and much checking of the weather report to see if snow was on its way (hint: it was). Gracie spent a LOT of time playing my nephew’s play kitchen, so much so I think she needs one in the upcoming year.

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B flew into town on the 23rd, and we promptly made our way to In-N-Out for double doubles and fries (Gracie had a milkshake = big fan) before heading home to begin the task of sorting through the 25 (give/take) boxes that we had shipped to my parents with various gifts for various people. This led to an eventual tale of demise, when a box of special Frango dark chocolate (from B to me) was put under the tree and then eaten in the middle of the night by my parent’s lovable oaf of a dog, Atticus. The chocolate did not survive, the dog did, but I’m told there were some frantic early morning calculations of the dog’s weight, the size of the chocolate box, etc. I missed all of this, taking the morning of the 24th to get some sleep as Gracie did not get the memo on the time change and was getting me up at 6 am every day before B arrived.

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On the evening of the 24th we did what we do best, and made pizza, our long term family Christmas Eve meal. My parents got fancy and grilled the pizza (delicious) and we had friends over to partake in the DIY pizza bar. Gracie ate her weight in cookies and we just shrugged…Christmas Eve only comes once a year. My brother and I (and by extension, my nephew and Gracie) did our annual Christmas Eve gift exchange. My parents always had us exchange our gifts the night before, but only if we could remember what the person got us the year prior. It was a nice way to ensure that we always remembered what our sibling had picked out especially for us. It was at this point that my brother gave Gracie my old doll high chair, which he had taken apart, refinished, repaired, and painted the same color as her high chair, and we needn’t have bothered with a single gift after that. Gracie fed her baby approximately 1000 times that night, in every spot she could put the high chair down, serving “soup” and “milk” and “cookies” and she was over the moon with excitement. The highchair is currently en route to Chicago and when it arrives, it will be like a second Christmas.

By the time Christmas morning came, through some sort of miracle, all of the adults woke up before the kids, allowing time for coffee making and breakfast starting. We also woke up to a winter wonderland, as it had snowed about 4 inches over night. In Gracie’s words, “POZEN!”

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Eventually the two wee ones woke up and all madness ensued. Gracie wanted to tear the paper off of gifts like a maniac, but then wanted to stop and play with each toy she opened. My nephew, overcome with excitement, would have opened all his gifts in five minutes flat if given the opportunity (but was happy to help Gracie get through her pile). Although I try to skip listing off gifts received (which often comes across like a braggy brand dropping snooze-fest) there were a few highlights under tree. My Dad got both of the kids leather soccer balls made out of up-cycled Southwest Airlines plane seats and B bought me the mandoline (food slicer not instrument) I’ve been asking for for….years. (I promptly ordered a special glove to wear when using it to prevent me from chopping off my fingers) He also surprised me with a new camera lens (24 mm), which was very unexpected and loved. Gracie particularly loved her stuffed Olaf and her B brand water drawing board, and Santa brought my nephew a kid’s guitar and many boxes of Legos. There were large stacks of books for everyone and it was all in all, very magical. (Amazon links are affiliate, I recommend buying B brand at Target for the best price, or you know, wherever you prefer to do your shopping)

Friday was our last day in Utah (we flew out pretty early Saturday morning) and the original plan was for my Dad and I to hit the slopes. Between him not feeling 100% and the crazy zoo that was the resort, the plan was scrapped, and instead B and I took Gracie snowshoeing before meeting my family for lunch at the resort.

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We didn’t anticipate how long it would take us to park and get the start of the trail head, so we didn’t get to go nearly as far as we wanted, but we still had a great time before battling the crowds for lunch. Gracie demolished a bowl of vegetable soup, hung out with the bronze moose at the base of the mountain (seriously, giving it hugs and yelling with glee) and touched some snow before we headed back to my parents to get ready for their not-quite-annual December 26th chili party. It was a great way to end the trip, seeing family friends and enjoying chili and fixings with everyone. Gracie ate another one million cookies before we put her down and tackled the task of trying to pack up everything we had accumulated over the holiday. We went home with 2 more suitcases than we came with, and there is still more being shipped….oh well. The flight home was uneventful (Gracie was on her best behavior on this go around) and we were back in our house by 1:30 in the afternoon. It was a wonderful holiday and I’m so glad we had the opportunity to spend Christmas with my family in the mountains.

Canon Camera Shopping at Best Buy {Sponsored}

sponsored content ahoy! 

It is no secret I’ve been a huge fan of my Canon camera, which I bought a few years ago. Naturally I’m so intrigued by the latest model of my camera (a Canon EOS Rebel T3i), which is the Canon EOS Rebel T5i. I’ve slowly added lenses to my collection and I know they would all be amazing when attached to the latest camera body.

 

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Good news for camera shoppers: you can now save $150 on the Canon EOS Rebel T5i at Best Buy. Visit Best Buy to learn more. Unlike online shopping at Best Buy you’ll have the opportunity to manipulate the camera yourself, to take lenses on and off and see how it fits in your hands. (Hint: it would fit quite well in mine!)

The latest version features a continuous autofocus (awesome) and full HD for video. It has a a DIGIC 5 image processor = amazing!

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free. Daisy disclaimer: just a gift card yo. Not that I would love a camera, SANTA. 

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