Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Good Thing?

The easy-going temporary gig I have is nearing the end (at the end of the month). Fortunately, I just received word of a job offer, so I will move from one job to the next with no interruption, but it might be a bit of a culture shock for a few different reasons.

In contrast to my current manager, the new manager stressed that they like having the whole team in the office. So - no more working from home :( And this office is located in Ballantyne, the other end of Charlotte, about 30 miles from home.

I'm trying to see the positive in this situation. Being employed of course is good, but maybe this set-up will make me more structured? When I first started this job, before I got comfortable working from home, I would wake up every morning at 5:00 and work out and be super productive. Then when I started working from home more frequently, I started sleeping in more and more... "Well, I don't have to work-out in the morning... I can just do it on my 'lunch break.'" Hmmmmm.... Of course, it helped that back then Killian slept through the night, so it was much easier to wake up at 5:00. This will be interesting...

I Am A Disco Dancer.

Killian's been practicing for the family talent show this Christmas. Here's a sneak peek:



Link To Video On YouTube

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Good (and the Not-So-Good)

Good: Killian is not constipated any more.
Not-So-Good: Killian is NOT constipated any more. Dear God.

Good: Two piles of clothes are getting bigger: Killian's pile of clothes that are too small and Mommy's pile of clothes that are too big.
Not-So-Good: We both have 2 pairs of jeans that fit right now. (I am holding out to Christmas for Killian - I suspect he might be getting some clothes from sweet family members. And I am holding out till I think I am done losing baby weight before I buy new pants. Almost there.)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Bouncy Bouncy

Killian was parachuting and got stuck in the doorway to his bedroom. He thought it was funny. He tries to see the humor in everything.

6 Months Old!

Today Killian had his 6-month check-up. He laughed and giggled the whole time and didn't even so much as whimper when it was time for his shot.

We discussed his development with the doctor and then asked the very important question, "When can he eat Ethiopian food?" The answer: "Now!" ("What do you think babies in Ethiopia eat?") Because Killian has had an array of cereal, veggies and fruit now, it's safe for him to move onto table food (given it is sufficiently mashed up). Even a little spicy is ok. This lead to a nice discussion with his doctor about the Ethiopian restaurants in Charlotte and in DC (where she's from too). I can't wait for Killian to try some injura and shuro wat!

On the way home from the doctor, he was very tired (no nap yet today)... and seemed contemplative. He fell asleep just after I took this photo.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Best of 2009

Little early for an end of year post, but this is probably going to be my last post this year. The next few weeks will be too busy!

2009 was a pretty good year. I would like to highlight a few of my favorite things from 2009. The completely obvious good things will be left out of course (you know, the arrival my first born son). This is a list of the little things that need some recognition.


1. Girl Talk

I actually discovered Girl Talk in 2008 – thanks NPR's "All Things Considered!", but it didn’t really affect my life until 2009 when I started running more (thanks to Dave for the peer pressure!)

What is Girl Talk? It’s the most wonderful mix of “that old school rap with that new school hip.” New and old school hip hop with mixed with various songs from the decades, everything from Roy Orbinson to the Pixies). It reminds me of those commercials for Best of the 70’s cds… they would play the catchy part of some nostalgic song “hoooooOOOLD me closer, tiny dancer!” and then would move into the next song, leaving you with all the warm fuzzies the nostalgic song evokes but cut it off before it gets old. Except “Hold Me Closer” is actually overlaid with Biggie Smalls. It’s magical. And perfect for when you need to keep the energy level high – like running. I require music when I run and I really think Girl Talk is responsible for me bumping up my mileage significantly for the first time ever. I used to enjoy running as a teenager, but don't think I ever went above 5 miles. My record now is 10!

This is all Mike listens to when he runs also, so Girl Talk lyrics are now buried deep in our subconscious and emerge randomly throughout the day. Me when I buckle Killian into his carseat: “Get it right. Get it right, get it tight.” Mike: “Booty Booty droppin’ droppin’ nudie nudie poppin' knockin’” when he walks up and down the stairs, changes Killian’s diaper…anytime really.

When I go for long runs, I actually have to start repeating Girl Talk tracks. I’m afraid I’ll get sick of Girl Talk. I need more! What if they don’t come out with another album soon enough? This has led me to thinking about trying to learn Garage Band or some software to make my own tracks. Maybe that will be a 2010 goal. I need to hear Johnny Cash singing over some DJ Shadow.

2. Word Ace – an iPhone app that is combination Scrabble + Poker, thank you (again!) Dave Johnson! Actually at first I was cursing you for introducing Mike to Word Ace. Before I actually gave it a try, I was annoyed by Mike playing it so much at night and ignoring me, only to ask me every few minutes to google something for him to see if it was actually a word. (Yes, he cheats sometimes.)

But then I tried it, and I became addicted for quite some time. I spent a good portion of the summer sitting around nursing a newborn. With no cable TV in the house, I sometimes rely on my iPhone for entertainment when I am forced to sit still. Word Ace provided countless hours of entertainment for me.

Mike made a physical Word Ace deck and we all enjoyed playing it over Thanksgiving.

IMG_0102.JPG

3. The Office

Again, I spent a good of amount of time sitting down nursing Killian the latter half of the year. So I went through a lot of Netflix. I decided to see what “The Office” was about. It’s a network show, so I had thought, how funny could it be? Wow, I was wrong. It always left me satisfied and smiling…

4. “That’s what she said!”

5. New Friends! Ok, this is a big one, so it really shouldn’t be lumped into the same category as an iPhone app and a TV show, but I did want to acknowledge it! Mike & I finally met a group of people in Charlotte we think are cool enough to hang out with ;) You know who you are :)

6. Technology in general, I think deserves a shout-out. I’ve been appreciative and impressed with a few things this year:

  • Wireless Internet: its general abundance and ease of use (compared to just a few years ago). My office complex has it everywhere now, so I’m able to move from say my cubicle to the “wellness room” and keep on working uninterrupted. Same goes for at home. When I used to work from home not too long ago, I would have to plug into a LAN line and be confined to one room. Now it’s pretty standard all laptops have wifi built in and I take advantage of moving freely from room to room when I’m at home.

  • iPhone: When I was in high school, the idea of just an iPod (let alone the iPhone) would have BLOWN MY MIND. When I met Mike, I was still making mix tapes. I find so many apps incredibly useful (RunKeeper), but mostly I’m impressed with the photo and video quality. When I graduated college in 2003, for a graduation present I bought myself my first camera. It was somewhat decent - with 2 megapixels. Yep. That was nice back then. Now my freaking camera phone has more megapixels. That’s awesome.

    Also, integration. Love how you can easily upload photos from your phone to flickr, video on your phone to youtube…. User-friendly interfaces make me happy.

    And Apple is not even paying me to say these things!

  • Baby Gadgets: Found so many things helpful. High on the list: breast pump technology– efficient, compact, and affordable these days. And so many accessories that make life with a newborn easier: swaddling technology, video monitor, ear thermometer, etc. Really don’t know how our moms survived without them! And especially my poor mom – the morning sickness wonder drug Zofran was not on the market until she was pregnant with her last child. There’s no way I’d ever even consider getting pregnant again if it wasn’t for Zofran. Hooray for modern medicine.

7. Mike’s New Status as "Cooking Mama": For some reason, Mike is trying to keep me fat. Every time I would come home from running, he’d be baking cookies, banana bread, sweet potato tarts…. WTF! My mind says no, but my mouth says yes… (Oh, didn’t think anyone was still reading at this point.)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Good Thing

Mike's ability to whip up a meal in under 30 minutes with ingredients from our freezer: chicken fried rice.

Monday, December 7, 2009

3 Good Things

Gratitude is a good thing. I try to focus on the positive and appreciate the small pleasures and values that can be found in every day life. Sometimes it's all about the little things. So I'd like to start a "Three Good Things" series, which I've seen on other blogs that I'm a fan of. I know I won't write them every day, but the point is to try to think of at least 3 good things every day for which you are grateful.

1. Killian was in a great mood when I got home with him from day care. He laughed hysterically when I asked him if he would say that "mommy had a plethora of milk?" I'm not sure if it was the word plethora or if it was my 3 Amigos accent. But he laughed hysterically at everything I said for the next 15 minutes, which put me in the most fantastic mood ever.

2. My contracting company took me out to another nice lunch today. I never can finish restaurant servings and I love it when they take the food back to box it up and then accidentally throw it out. Then I get a brand new meal! So today I enjoyed 1 and a half yummy salmon salads.

3. John is coming home from the hospital tomorrow. Subtext: good health of family and friends.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Don't Mind If I Do!

Kids sure grow up fast. Killian just demonstrated he doesn't need his mom's help for everything. Lately Killian has been sleeping with me because he's waking up hungry a few times a night and it just makes it easier to have him close to me. Last night I was surprised to wake up to Killian nursing. He apparently has learned how to just help himself!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Resemblance?

The hair and eye color may be different, but that sparkle in the eye is the same.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

5 Months Old

Killian is 5 and a half months old now! (I am a little late in writing his monthly birthday post.)

My baby is getting so big!





























The day before his actual birthday, Killian decided he would finally roll over for the first time. He was doing tummy time and was trying to reach for his toys. He was trying so hard to reach, that he toppled over. He did it three times in a row, and I caught him in action.

Just about to reach that left arm up...






















And there he goes:























He had to get this rolling over business out of the way, so he could move onto bigger and better things. Pretty much the very next day, he began to sit up unassisted! He loves to sit on his playmat with his toys.




















The day of his actual birthday (11/12), we actually went out to celebrate Pretty Aunt Rissa's birthday too. He's wearing mommy's favorite bear outfit.






















Thanksgiving Week

This past week we enjoyed visiting with Mike's Mom, Donna, and Richard.

Killian and his Oma
If you ever see reddish hints in Killian's hair, now you know where he got that from!



























This week we were treated to the most magnificent dinners by Oma. Here is my favorite salmon recipe ever: cilantro lime salmon.



























Richard found his place in the kitchen too. Richard solved two electrical problems in our kitchen that have plagued us for years. Since we moved in, we could never run the microwave while pre-heating the oven because both appliances shared the same circuit (over loaded circuits = dangerous!). And for the past 2 years, 3 of the electrical sockets in our kitchen mysteriously stopped working. I'm not sure exactly what he did, but he spent about a day and a half behind our oven looking like he was diffusing a bomb, and now everything works! We are extremely grateful!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Big Boy Bath!

Now that Killian is sitting up (yes, I know, when did that happen?!), it is a good time for him to graduate from his infant tub to a "big boy" tub so he can enjoy bath time more. His big boy tub a tiny little inflatable pool that sits in a regular tub. He loves it! He loves trying to grab the water coming out of the faucet and splashing around.







Monday, November 9, 2009

Expressions

The "the Gerber baby has nothing on me" face.


"Who me?"




"I so sleepy..."



"It's ok, my hands are organic."


"Say 'what' again."



"Doot."



"Look at my chubby cheeks."



The Edward Norton face.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Pretty Girls in Strange Places



















































One Drunk Baby

I love how Killian touches my face here as he talks to me. He reminds me of either a really drunk person ("Hey...Mom... I want to...tell you something....") or a really old man ("Heeeya, listen to my story...")

This drunken babbling continued for another 2 hours. He conversed with his bears for awhile before finally passing out in our bed.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Best Chili Recipe Ever: Bacon and No Beans

The secret to this chili is BACON. Most people said they didn't notice it was in there until we pointed it out. Mike likes this recipe because it has no beans. I always thought sneaking kidney beans into chili was wrong. No beans also means that you are not paying for it the next day.

1 lb beef
1 package of bacon
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 small tomato
1 green and orange pepper
12 oz salsa
1 cup of frozen corn
1 tsp chili pepper
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies

Brown the beef, adding the onions, green and orange pepper, garlic, and bacon. Drain the fat. Pour into slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients. Cook it on high for an hour or two. Done!

Serve with Jiffy's cornmuffins!

And thank you to Tim Cheadle for showing me how to cut a pepper so the seeds don't go EVERYWHERE.

Pumpkin Cupcakes


Can't go wrong with this easy recipe. Here it is:

1 box of yellow cake mix (and ingredients called for in mix: eggs, vegetable oil)
1 15-oz can of pumpkin pie mix
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
icing and candy corn

Follow the instructions for the cake mix (mixing 3 things together and pouring into a pan). INSTEAD of water, sub the pumpkin pie mix and spice. There you go!

The pumpkin pie mix makes the cupcakes really moist and flavorful. Rich, but not cocky.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Killian Fends Off a Bear

They were supposed to be getting ready for bed, but I caught Daddy getting Killy all riled up...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Multi-Tasking

I am so grateful for having a low-stress job right now and having a manager who embraces the concept that work is an activity and not a location. She works from home 100% and encouraged me to work from home too, especially after she learned I had a little one.

I am really appreciative of this, as not all company cultures are comfortable with this concept yet. I have always taken Killian to daycare the days I work from home, so I can focus on work. Taking care of a little one is a full-time job and it's kind of hard to do two jobs at once! Or do them both well anyway.

I have only talked to my manager a handful of times since she hired me and when I spoke to her this week, she mentioned she hoped I was taking advantage of working from home with all the bugs going around. She then said, "Oh, I bet you're happy to keep the little one out of daycare as much as possible!" That is the second time she has mentioned to me how I should keep the little one home with me. The first time she mentioned that I jumped in assuring her that I wouldn't try to multi-task like that, but this time, I thought, "hmmmm....well ok then!"

So today I tried to do both because it was a lighter day. I had a few phone conferences today that I mainly just needed to listen to.

To keep Killian entertained, we have to keep moving around to different stations in the house. The exersaucer downstairs. The exersaucer upstairs. Tummy time on his blanket with his toys. His playpen with his other toys. He gets tired of his toys. Play the "oh no, don't kick Mommy in the face!" game. All the while I'm carting my laptop and phone with me from room to room, couch to floor, toggling between my laptop and smiling at Killian, running out of the room when I had to talk so they wouldn't hear his babbling and noises, and then making sure I went back "on mute."

I spent a good portion of the morning paranoid that I hadn't accidentally "gone off mute." I have heard all sorts of background noise on conference calls (animals, kids... I have even heard the occasional toilet flush. So I am not the only one multi-tasking!) But I still didn't want to be that person.

The conversation would get quiet on the call and I would think, "Oh no! They just heard me say, 'I'm going to eat your belly!'"

But luckily, I successfully stayed on mute all day when I needed to be. When one call was wrapping up, we decided to go outside for some fresh air. The moment we stepped outside a neighbor and a dog ran up to us and were confused by the voices coming out of my pants. I had to explain that I was "working."

So it worked out today because my workload was pretty light. It was so nice to be able to see his smiling face throughout the day and to be able to take a break from the pumping machine during working hours and just be able to nurse him instead. There was a lot of juggling today and I'm pretty exhausted right now as he naps. But very satisfied :)






























Pretty much how I'm feeling right now too.

Wordless Wednesday: Killian Thinks It's Curious Mommy is Lying in the Grass Taking Pictures





Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: A Warm October Afternoon



























































Chicken "Tortilla" Soup CrockPot Recipe

Mike wanted me to put this recipe up here. He said it's the best chicken "tortilla" soup he's ever had. "Tortilla" in quotes because it actually contained no tortilla, but that's still what we're calling it.

He is trying a new lactose-free diet and is feeling under the weather this week, so I was looking for something hearty, yet fresh, and of course, lactose-free.

I slightly modified a recipe I found on allrecipes.com. Mainly, I did not make the tortilla strips (unhealthy and unnecessary) and I added freshly diced avocado when serving it.

Prep time was only a few minutes.


INGREDIENTS
* 1 pound shredded, cooked chicken
* 1 can of diced tomatoes with some chilies
* 1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 cups water
* 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
* 1 teaspoon cumin
* 1 teaspoon chili powder
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
* 1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn
* 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
* ripe avocados

DIRECTIONS

1. Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chiles, and garlic into a slow cooker. Pour in water and chicken broth, and season with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper. Stir in corn and cilantro. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dude...Where's My Mu Shu Chicken?

Last night Mike & I decided we could really go for some authentic, spicy Asian food to help clear up our sinuses. We decided to treat ourselves to takeout from one of our favorite places in town.

I opened up my meal and was disappointed to find that there was no chicken in my....chicken wrap. I wasn't too annoyed though because we had also ordered some sushi, so I had other food to enjoy. I knew we would call the manager later and he would probably take it off of our bill.

Mike started working on his spicy beef noodles and it wasn't long before he made a puzzled face. "Hmmmm that's interesting. The broccoli tastes like.... weed."

I thought for sure he was exaggerating, but I took a bite and sure enough...there was that very distinctive smell (that I learned about through the DARE program). So distinctive, I spit it out out of fear of passing on any THC to my baby!

We were quite flummoxed. How does broccoli end up REEKING of marijuana? What was going on in that kitchen? We had visions of a teenaged cook yelling, "Dude! That's not oregano" during the broccoli prep. And then I understood how someone could package a chicken lettuce wrap to go with only lettuce.

So we called the manager. For a moment we debated if we should also mention the weed broccoli. But how weird would that sound? So we decided against mentioning it. As soon as we told him about the chicken wrap with no chicken, he apologized profusely and immediately assured us the entire bill would be on the house, which was more than we were expecting. He was so quick to apologize and almost seemed relieved that that was the only problem.

We then had a vision of the manager hanging up the phone saying, "I had to credit a $50 check, but at least they didn't mention the weed broccoli!"

In this picture, you can see the mound of lettuce sans chicken and the beef noodles with broccoli under suspicion in the background.

Lillian, Darling!

This past weekend I was sick and it was getting chilly, so Killian got to wear his PJs all day like his mom and dad. I dressed Killian in this little footed PJ set and Mike called him "Lillian" all day. I still think this outfit is totally gender neutral. And adorable.






























To balance things out, I put this jacket on him when we went for our walk tonight. A cute little hand-me-down I think little Mikey Economou used to wear.