Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I love my sweet girls

Ilse was making new sounds this morning. Not talking, obviously, but new-to-her noises. It's amazing, watching her grow. And it's fun, watching her watch Uli, who is also changing daily.

What amazing children I have. Their relationship is evolving. I no longer see the only-child whose territory was invaded. Instead, I have two girls. Sisters. Uli talks about loving and protecting and teaching things to Ilse. Ilse smiles the biggest, most amazing smiles for Uli (not even momma gets these smiles. They're a mile wide and accompanied with lots of eye twinkles and arm waiving and occasional wild cooing).

Ilse loves to hold your fingers and push up with straightened legs until she's standing. I don't remember Uli doing that (at least, not so often. At four months). She also loves to hold and turn the pages of That's Not My Reindeer, drooling over the shiny foil illustrations.

She thinks we're documenting her candy score,
but I really just wanted a picture of her with her hair brushed! ;-)

Uli now gets her crayons out of their box by herself, and she's been on a coloring spree. If you leave paper within her reach (which is extensive) you are going to come back to it and find embellishments of red, yellow, blue, and green. Guaranteed. She also calls her father and me by endearments we use with each other and with her. It's not unusually for her to say, "Hi Sweetheart" to me or "Okay, Honey" to her daddy. I love that and I'm soaking it up, for I suspect she won't keep it up for long.

Every day is a a day I'm thankful to be with my family. Love these little ones so so so much.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Lunchtime Purge

Mental purging, people, mental.

I've been thinking. I eat like crap. Seriously. I make some good homemade meals, and my husband does his best to cook interesting meals day in and day out (whilst also managing our household and caring very sweetly for our two girls), but overall what I bring to work for lunches is too often too much of the bad stuff and too little of the good. I came to this conclusion after looking at today's lunch and realizing it was awesome and how usually I don't eat as well.

Today's food so far:

Breakfast (no awards here)

  • Coffee with del-ISH creamer someone shared with me (ok, so this one is kinda bad)
  • Small piece of almond kringle someone set-out in the breakroom (props for the "small"?)
  • Coffee with milk (hurray! No sugar or weird transfats! but... two cups of coffee isn't my finest hour)
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Borscht
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Two clementines (though, technically they aren't part of lunch. I'm saving them for a snack)
Good lunch, no? I wish it were like this every day. But it's not. Even when my husband sends me to work with healthy items in my lunchbag I am often tempted by the dark side and scarf down on the amazing amount of fatty, nutritionly void, really tasty, crunchy and/or sweet treats I can buy at work (even worse: each costs a dollar. Bills fly from my finger tips. Just. Like. That. And suddenly the food is in my mouth. And then, worse, gone. And I'm still hungry. And poorer. Horrible.)

So this all leads me to think I should start talking/writing more about what I eat. Because public shame is a motivator for me. If I know I "have" to share what I'm eating I'm more likely to stick to a healthier diet. It's just a thought, but I think it'd be good for me.

Other thoughts: 

  • I cannot believe Christmas is THIS WEEKEND. I need to get my Christmas Eve Eve menu finalized and get to the grocery store!!
  • I hurt my back this weekend. I reached for and lifted a kitchen sponge off the back of the sink  and nearly passed out from the spasm of pain (didn't lift with my knees?). Justin says it's because my core is weak. But apparently, to strengthen my core, I need to, like, exercise. And, get this, all the work I've put in moving my fork to my mouth doesn't even count. Bummer, man.
  • I wish lunch breaks were longer. And took place on the beach. In Mexico.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Letters to Santa, 2011

Dear Santa,

Uli has made her first Christmas list! She would like:
  1. a drum
  2. a flute
  3. a baby kitty

That would be a real baby kitty, in case you're wondering. Apparently the five cats we already have are too old and don't climb up our legs often enough.

Ilse, while not yet able to compose an official list, nevertheless appears to enjoy dog toys, which reminds me of her older sister, who also favored our pups' things.

It's your call, Santa. Kittens. Dog toys. Whatever. We're ready!

(But no kittens. In all seriousness. No.)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Recycled Holiday Postcards

Do you save the Christmas cards people send you? I do. They're usually so pretty, I never feel right throwing them out, not even into the recycling bin. So I've been hoarding saving-up cards these past few years. I just tuck them into the boxes of decorations and down into the basement storage they go. But then each year as we set-up the tree my husband asks me, What are we doing with all these old cards? I've always told him I'm working on a project; he's humored me so far, even though he knows my "projects" might take a year or two (or four) to percolate. But I've always been certain  I'd figure out some way of reusing those cards someday. And this year, I did!

My family is cutting back on household expenses, and holiday cards, especially the ones I like to buy on recycled paper (have you noticed the stores seem to charge a dollar or so extra for them? Opportunists), seemed a natural item to trim from the budget. (Nice to send and awesome to recieve, but necessary on a tight budget? Not exactly, what with e-mails and FaceBook.)

But I was sad, thinking about not sending any cards to my friends and family. I love receiving them and figure my loved-ones do too. But how to make it happen this year...  I had some cards left over from previous years' mailings that I decided to send to new friends not on our previous mailing lists, but how to share holiday wishes with the rest of my family and friends?

Enter:  stroke of brilliance!

You take the lovely cards people mailed to you in years past.

Cut them in half, seperating the pretty card front from the well-wishing and family/friend signatures inside.

Write your own well-wishing and holiday greetings on the back of the cards' fronts, just like you would on a postcard. Address as you would a postcard.

Voila! Holiday postcards for those you love, upcycled by you from past years' cherished cards.

Is there a risk you'll send the card Aunt Kathy sent to you last year back to Aunt Kathy this year as a postcard? Possibly. I recommend checking the signatures before cutting off the cards' backs and addressing them. I had a few cards that I'd already cut-up, so it's a possibilty I'll be mailing back someones card to them. But would that really be a tragedy? They chose to send them in a past year because they liked them, right? However, for those cards I had saved intact, I did take steps to ensure I wasn't re-mailing them back to their original sender. I even went so far as to seperate the cards we'd received from my husband's family from those from my own family, and then also from my friends, and then attempted to mix-up the postcards enough so that my family's former cards were sent to my husband's family and vice versa, so no one would notice repeats from last year. But if I messed some up? I'm not worried. I think everyone who knows us will be okay with my thrifiness and will--it is my sincere hope--understand that it isn't because we don't love them that we didn't buy new cardstock this year.

How about you? Have any cards saved from years past and wondering what to do with them? I wholeheartedly recommend the postcard recycling method. It not only saved us money, but it was fun to go back through all the cards and try to pick out the best card for each recipient on our list. It helped me get into the holiday spirit for sure!

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