Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 Resolutions

For 2011 and 2012, I wrote down some adjectives as goals.  One-word phrases that I hope to achieve in the coming years.  Sometimes I have had great success in achieving those words, and sometimes I've had less success.  In all, adjective goals worked really well for me. 

Survive: I'm still here, so I survived!  I am a few weeks shy of being finished with the Terrible Twos (bring on the thrilling threes!  I hear they're worse... oh lord help me...).  I'm a mom to two, and I think I'm doing pretty well.  Laura's in a big girl bed, and has been wearing big girl undies at night for a few weeks now... only a few accidents!

Travel: We made it to Cape Cod, Seattle, The Bahamas, Tennessee, and a few trips to both sets of grandparents.  With two kids.  In our fabulous minivan!  I'm a total minivan convert.  I had my MIL's station wagon the other day and actually missed my Odyssey.  WOAH.

Sexy: Gavin did a number on my still-pregnant body; I did not feel sexy for any part of 2012 that I was still pregnany.  But that being said, I think I bounced back pretty well.  I feel confident in my body and clothes more days than I don't.  I still have some work to do, but... I'll take it.

So that's 2012 for you.  Adjectives that I mostly lived up to.  I'm not doing adjectives this year.  This year I have real goals.

1) Run the Cherry Blossom 10-miler.  I was not expecting to get a number when I signed up for that lottery.  But I did get a number, so I will be running in a 10-mile race on April 7th.  Which means I need to lace up my sneakers and hit the trails!  I'm hoping that the race will be incentive to really get into shape and lose the baby weight I've had since (before) Laura. 

2) Buy a new house.  Nate and I are seriously talking about our next house, where it will be and when we can buy it.  We have a few things to do with our current house before we can buy another, but we're already making those steps.  It's something I hope will happen in 2013, but I guess I'll survive if it takes a little longer.

3) Finish this huge thing at work!!  It wouldn't be very "anonymous" of me to say which project or where I work, but... it's a really big deal and we're set to be finished in September.  There's a lot to be done, and who knows if the contractors will finish on time, but we have a donor counting on the September date!! 

There are some other goals for this year, too... but I think three is enough!  I hope everyone has a fun and safe evening.  See you next year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Recap

All in all, our Christmas was wonderful and also pretty awful.  Nothing tragic or anything, but... well, it started on Thursday when Nate had to drive to Roanoke to fight a speeding ticket.  Did you know that anything over 80 MPH in Virginia is a felony?  Yeah.  And sometimes you get a dick wad judge who compares your speeding to the tragedy in Connecticut.  Yeah.  My husband was compared to that.  I'm not sure how he managed to stay on his side of the judge's bench and NOT strangle that man.

At any rate, we all hopped in the car Friday after work and drove to my parents in Massachusetts.  It was an 8-hour car ride that Nate was not excited about, having spent 8 hours in the car (and all day at a courthouse) the day before.  But we made it up without incident.  Saturday and Sunday were fantastic.

Nate and my dad spent all morning together, running through town with a bunch of guys, drinking a ton.  I hear they had fun.  My sister was home from a semester in Paris and I got to hug her and talk to her in person and catch up and it was wonderful.  My brother, sister-in-law and niece were there as well.  That evening, I got to catch up with some high school friends I hadn't seen since we graduated - twelve years ago.  It was awesome.  My dad made delicious pot roast and potato pancakes for dinner and we all ate till we could eat no more.

Sunday, we did early Christmas with my brother and his family, before they headed to her family's house for real Christmas.  We all received some wonderful gifts... and some surprises!  My niece was wearing a onesie telling us all she had a secret!  She's going to be a big sister in July!!  Total surprise for EVERYONE involved - my brother and sister-in-law most of all!  We are all thrilled.  We ordered a massive amount of Chinese food for dinner that night, and almost didn't realize that Laura ate at least two packets of silica gel desiccant.

And did you know that the number for poison control is NOT under the number for 911 in some phone books?  And that if you call 911 they cannot connect you to poison control?  And that 911 (in my parents' town at least) automatically sends the ENTIRE BRIGADE for every 911 call placed?  So about five minutes later the firetruck, ambulance and police force were crammed into the foyer, high-fiving a very excited almost-three-year-old who was perfectly fine.  So that was exciting.  Note: don't eat silica gel packets, but if you do just drink some water and skip the 911 call.

Monday went really well until Nate was very suddenly very ill.  We were sitting at a friend's house, chatting and having fun, and all of a sudden Nate was white and dizzy and ready to die.  If it was a ploy to get out of church, it worked.  He was sick the whole night and all of Christmas.  My dad fell victim just after we opened presents Christmas morning.  It was a real treat!

But Santa came and Santa delivered.  We were all spoiled, with tons of clothes and so many toys.  Laura got her coveted Doctor Kit - with a lab coat to boot!  Gavin received a race car, which was totally necessary of course.  We were able to visit my grandmother in the afternoon, and my dad rallied enough to make (if not eat) Christmas dinner for the three of us who were well enough.  My mom, sister and I really enjoyed the beef tenderloin!!

We spent 11 hours in the car on Wednesday, battling snow and traffic to get home.  Did I mention it's a 7-hour drive?  It was miserable, but we made it.  I went to work yesterday and today, and will head to my in-law's tonight for Christmas Part II.  Probably not our best Christmas... but it was still pretty fantastic all in all!

IMG_4590 IMG_4599 IMG_4600 IMG_4627 IMG_4634

Monday, December 24, 2012

Friday, December 21, 2012

It's Almost Here!

Christmas!  It's as if I suddenly came out of a fog of disorganization, looked at a calendar and realized OHMIGAH IT'S CHRISTMAS!!  I knew it was coming, but WOW did this month fly by.  We've been busy doing Christmasy things at our house, even if I seriously thought I had a whole 'nother week to get stuff done.

We got a Christmas tree on the 2nd.


We had our annual Christmas party on the 8th.


We made a Gingerman House on the 10th.

gingerman 005

Laura was the cutest pine tree ever at her school's Christmas Program on the 12th.


Laura and Gavin got to see Santa a second time on the 13th.


We baked cookies for our beloved teachers on the 17th.


And now here we are.  I'm finishing a few things at work before the end of the year (even though I'll be one of the few at work on Thursday and Friday next week), and we'll drive up to my parents' tonight.  Christmas is HERE!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cookie Therapy

I started to get a grip on myself on Monday, after venting through my post about trust, and mostly after reading the status update on Facebook from Gavin's teacher:

Thinking of A and A [her daughters] at school today

and loving on my babies at work. All 3 of my babies are sound asleep. ♥


My baby!  The teacher was loving on my baby!  Who was sound in his innocent sleep.  I can picture his bald little fuzzy head asleep in the crib, pacifier at the ready, blankie in hand.  His two sweet baby friends positioned the same nearby.  Three babies - my baby - surrounded by love.


And it made me feel better.  I was reminded that while, yes, I send my children off into the big scary world three mornings a week, they are met by love and protection.  My children have wonderful teachers.  My children are happy and cared for and loved - and that's really all I could hope for in the end.


I read the words of Gavin's teacher and started to feel better.  I went home and baked cookies to give to the teachers at day care, my heart filled with appreciation for all that they do.  I added some sugar to the mixing bowl, and was reminded of all the sweetness around me.  I mixed in the creamy butter and didn't feel so jaded by the world.  Laura added the Hershey Kisses to the cookies - and I placed my own kisses on her cheeks. 


Laura and Gavin have their last day of school for the year today.  Laura will have her class party this afternoon, and I'll pick her up hopped up on sugar.  As it should be.  Laura will ask five bajillion times if she can open her presents yet, and I'll read The Grinch Who Stole Christmas at least twice tonight.  This is how it should be.  And I am glad.

Monday, December 17, 2012


This morning was so hard.  I have been dreading this morning all weekend.  The first morning back to school after the senseless loss on Fridays.  Loss of lives.  Loss of innocence.  Loss of trust...

I put so much time and effort into finding a day care, one I could entrust with the care of my children.  It was no small task.  I have had some bumps in the road with the day care we chose, but for the most part I send my children off to school three mornings a week, trust they are cared for, loved and educated, then pick them up expecting smiles and stories in the evening.  I trust the teachers. 

I never realized that I needed to trust everybody else.  I didn't think about needing to trust the other parents at the school, the other tenants of the church that hosts the school, the other... whole rest of the world.

This morning was so hard.  I lifted my children out of the car  and out of my care, and left them with my whole heart in a building that I hope and pray I can trust.  As if drop off this morning wasn't difficult enough, Laura was in tears about not wanting to go to school.  "Mommy, I just don't want you to leave me!"  Well kiddo, I don't want to leave you either. 

I can't wait to pick up my children after school today.  I can't wait to see those bright faces.  I can't wait for their hugs.

Friday, December 14, 2012

I'm a Little Pine Tree

Laura made her stage debut on Wednesday as a Pine Tree at her school's annual Christmas Program.  She had one of the "bigger roles," as she was on stage (with her best friend, of course!) for the entire two verses of "I'm a Little Pine Tree."  While every child was on stage at some point during the program, most were only up to deliver a brief line between songs.  So pictures, of course:

Laura, the cutest pine tree ever! (Laura's on the left, and the tree on the right is pretty darn cute, as well!)

So proud of herself (as she should be), after the show!

I gotta be honest, I was not expecting much from this show.  Forty kids aged 2 through 5, singing fifteen songs?  It sounded sorta... awful.  I was completely surprised by the great job the kids (and teachers) did in creating a wonderfully, hilariously adorable Christmas program.  A show where every child was proud of her role.  A show where, ok yeah, the singing was off-key at best, but the kids had SO MUCH FUN!  A show with absolutely priceless costumes... So much proud laughter from the friends and family in the (enormous) audience.  I am so excited for next year!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Gingerman House

She darted past her teacher to chase me down the hall yesterday morning.  Pointer finger extended, telling me to wait: she had something important to tell me.

Mom!  Houses!
Gingerman houses!
Let's make gingerman houses tonight!

So when we got home last night, I found some ice cream cones, a can of frosting, the Halloween candy we can't seem to get rid of, some pretzel sticks, and a few Pepperidge Farm gingerbread men for good measure.

We made a mess, ate tons of sugar, and had the most wonderful time.

We made a Gingerman House.

Monday, December 10, 2012

An Apology and Complaint

You know why I haven't been posting as much lately?  I can't effing stand uploading photos through  Can't stand it.  I must be doing something wrong, but it's just a bear to get images added and appearing the way I want them to.  And even then - UGH.  I just can't wrangle anything on here the way I want to. 

I have so much to say, so many images to post... and I just can't get myself pysched enough to battle the image uploader.

It's been well over a year, and I still miss Blogger.

So if there is anyone out there who has tips and wants to help a mother out, PLEASE!  I am all ears.  I have cute kids.  I like the show them off.  I'd like to show them off here.  I need help.  Or a switch back to Blogger.

Friday, December 7, 2012

These Two

I love watching their relationship grow: they love each other so much.   I know they have years of bickering ahead of them - the hair pulling has already started (though only one of them has hair, and only one of them is pulling it).  I'm sure there will be tears and shouting and jealousies in their future.  But for right now, they are best friends and co-conspirators.  They are a devoted to each other in a way only siblings can be. 

So much love.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Craft: Felt Tree

I am sure you have seen this pin on Pinterest?


So cute, right?  I had been planning for ages to make this for Laura, and just needed to get to Michael's.  The shopping trip was on my agenda for Saturday, following an evening Ladies Craft Night with some friends from day care.

Our craft nights are a lot of fun.  Whoever hosts picks the craft, which is a surprise for everyone else.  Everyone else shows up with wine and snacks.  We craft, gossip about day care, lament about toddlers, and have a great time.  When I showed up to my friend's house on Friday - lo and behold! - PILES of green felt, ready for us to make our trees!  I might have squeaked with excitement.

I ended up make twenty-five little ornaments for Laura's tree, with the idea that it could one day be an Advent Calendar.  However for this year, I stuck it up on the wall Saturday night (after I added a few finishing touches) while Laura was in bed, and threw all the ornaments on at once.  Laura zeroed in on it immediately Sunday morning, and was delighted!  A tree she could decorate all by herself!  Over and over again!  With a little felt purse (oh yes I did!) to store the ornaments in!

This was a definite Pinterest success.  Get out, get yourself some felt, and start cutting!  We love our felt Christmas tree!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

#30daysofthankful, Fifth and Final Installment

November 25-30
I am thankful I did this.  In part to document a lovely month with my wonderful family.  But also because it's proof that I am probably not cut out for a larger photo-a-day project, like Project 365.  This was hard for me to keep up with!  But the end result?  Love it.


#30daysofthankful, Part 3

So kind of a funny thing.  I created a whole collage for November 13-18 weeks ago, and never posted it.  So here it is.  And stay tuned for the fifth and final installment!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My Boys

I'm definitely not about to go pro with my photography skillz (with my point-and-shoot), but every now and then I capture some photos that I just adore.   By some luck, the lighting and alignment are (mostly) perfect and I just can't help but stare at my computer screen, wondering at the images before me.

I took some really beautiful photos of Nate and Gavin over Thanksgiving.  I absolutely love them - lack of photoshop editing, poor alignment and everything.  To me, they are perfect, and I just have to share them.

Even though this one is tilted funny:

Even though this one is blurred:

Even though Nate is wiping Gavin's drool:

Even though I cut off Gavin's foot:

Even though Nate is squinting and Gavin isn't looking up:

Even though... well, this one truly is just about perfect:

I love my boys.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

30 Days of Thankful, Part 4

Thanksgiving is over, but I still have a lot to be thankful for!

November 19-24:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Let the Cooking Begin!

My head has been in a whirl for the last few weeks.  So much to plan!  So little time!  So much time... with in-laws!!  But I'm starting to get things checked off my "Thoughts in My Head" list, and it feels really good.  The most recent thing I checked off that list?  Cooking for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Our family is celebrating the holidays with Nate's family this year, at a rental house on the beach.  We thought some neutral territory (and more bedrooms) would help all of us relax a little and actually enjoy each other this year.  So we're headed to Delaware! 

So of course, trying to plan a relaxing weekend means I need to do a little more prep work in advance, which is less relaxing... Ironic.  But it also means that I got to start cooking some of my favorite foods last night.  Oh!  So yummy!  The house was filled with the smell of Thanksgiving and Fall last night as I baked and scooped and blended and whipped.  And of course nothing is actually made per se, but everything is started.

Sherry Sweet Potatoes:  These sherry sweet potatoes are a family tradition on my side.  It mostly involved my grandmother adding too much sherry to the potatoes, and probably drinking more than her fair share in the process.  They were... a little too drunk for me as a child.  Turns out they are delicious when made with the correct amount of sherry!

Corn Casserole:  Ok, so I did nothing to prep this yummy side dish last night, besides actually buying the corn, cheese and pimentos.  But I have the ingredients!  I can whip this up very quickly Thanksgiving day. 

Squash Soup:  Can you believe it?  I don't have the recipe for this typed up yet!  So easy, so I'm sharing it here!



2-lb butternut squash (medium)
1 T olive oil
1 yellow onion
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3/4 cup cream or milk
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper 

Peel squash and remove seeds.
Cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks and set aside.
Add oil to 4-quart saucepan and place over medium heat.
Add onion, celery, carrot, and rosemary
Cook until onion begins to brown, stirring occasionaly, about 15 minutes.
Add squash, stock and 1 cup water.
Bring to a boil
Reduce to a simmer and cook until squash is tender, about 15 minutes.
Turn off heat and let soup cool slightly, about 8 minutes.

Using a blender or processor, puree soup in batches until smooth.
Transfer to a clean pot or storage container.
**Can be refrigerated up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

When ready to serve, reheat.
Add milk, salt and pepper; stir well.
Add additional milk or stock  if soup is too thick.
Simmer 5 minutes.
Serve warm.

Doesn't get much easier than that!  Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Laundy and Mice and Poop

Our washing machine hasn't been draining properly for a few weeks.  I go down to the basement to switch a load and find my clothes sopping wet in the bottom of the washer, when they should be damp but not dripping pasted against the sides of the drum.  So I set the washer to the spin cycle and let them spin out a second or even third time.  It's time consuming, and I'm sure wasteful of energy, and definitely exhausting.  It certainly doesn't make me want to tackle the ever-growing laundry pile after work!

But I have to do the laundry.  Gavin goes through bibs like they're going outta style, and quite often his jammies too.  So the other night, I flipped on the basement light to activate spin-cycle #3.  But I startled a squatter on my way down: I glimpsed a flash of dark fur running down the wall.  Horrifying.  The silver lining was that I knew exactly where to place the little box of poison.

So let's flash forward to yesterday.  Nate and I go down to the basement to try to "fix" the washing machine, screw driver and drain snake in hand.  I get to the bottom step and see it: the body.  Lying on my basement floor.  So of course I let out a blood curdling scream.  MOUSEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!  Even Nate let out a shout when he saw it, "Oh my god! There IS a mouse!"  (as if my scream was a lie. but anyway)  He takes care of the mouse, I try to put my heart back in my chest, and we move back to the washing machine, which we were not able to fix.

Meanwhile, Laura and Gavin are playing upstairs.  Or so I think.  I mean, Gavin's not going anywhere.  He's in his saucer and safe/unable to escape.  Laura on the other hand... Appears at the top of the basement steps:

I pooped on the potty!!  I got a little poop on my finger when I wiped, but I washed my hands! 

Nate and I were stunned.  Happily stunned.  Laura stopped playing, took herself all the way upstairs, pooped, wiped, flushed and washed her hands.  Without any help, prompting, begging or pleading.  So when she asked for a Hershey Kiss AND a marshamallow as reward?  We happily obliged.  And when I had to hand wash her little undies because she didn't really wipe very well, I couldn't have been prouder to do so. 

In the meantime, I need to remember how to ask for Confession at Church, because the guilt of my murder is weighing heavily on my soul.  How can I hate a thing so much, and still feel so awful for killing it?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Too often in my life I start to feel panicky and weepy, only to realize that I am severely dehydrated.  Seriously, it's like I have a mental block about getting enough fluids every day.  I sit at my desk, parched, feeling like my chest is caving in, short of breath, ready to cry, depressed and anxious and ready to just sink into nothingness... and wonder "Why am I feeling so awful?!"

And then I remember that I'm thirsty and that humans need water to survive and there's a water cooler some thirty feet from my desk and I pay $5 a month to drink that water.  So get off your butt and drink some water, Caitlin!  So I have some water and slowly start to feel better again.  This happens all the time.  As soon as I drink a little water, all the dark thoughts of despair ease and I am once again able to see some brightness.

Except this week.  I am actually hydrated, sipping water regularly from the free water bottles leftover from a few catered meetings.  It's like a mecca of bottled water here at work, and I am savoring this brief oasis.  So I'm pretty well hydrated.

And yet... I can't keep the ugly thoughts from crowding in.  I'm feeling inadequate in so many ways.  Inadequate as a mother (I snap too much and enjoy to little), as a wife (I focus on every nit-picky detail without appreciating the whole), as a coworker (I just can't focus). 

I don't know if it's the dreary never-see-the-sun weather, anxiety over the upcoming holidays (nearly every weekend with my in-laws...), or this endless mind-numbingly boring project at work... but I need to snap out of it.  My heart needs some rehydrating. 

Pouring my heart out.

Monday, November 12, 2012

30 Days of Thankful, part ii

November 7th through 12th:
And a great, big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Nate!   We love you!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Mouse

Last year, we had a pretty rough time with mice in our house.  It's an older house with a stone foundation, so I always expect a few unwanted creatures to lurk in the basement.  But last year the mice - oh the mice!  The mice took over our home, crawling through walls, eating random bits of paper in our bedrooms, on our nightstands, gnawing and crunching long into the night.  It was terrifying and disgusting and awful.

So you can imagine the hair begin to rise on the back of my neck the other night when I heard the distinct noise of crinkle and crunch.  OH NO.  NOT AGAIN.  I lay in my bed, straining my ears for the noise, bracing myself for another winter of The Mice.  I listened and began to plan when I'd call the exterminator, how much poison to lay out, and where to set new traps.

Except, this crinkly crunching was somehow louder than last year.  And not nearly so menacing.  And seemed to be coming from across the hall.  The crinkly crunching was almost... rhythmic... it seemed to crunch in time with the sucking of a pacifier.

I peered into Gavin's crib.  He was fast asleep, gently crunching the crinkly ears of his beloved Mickey Mouse.

So it seems we do indeed have a mouse situation again this year.  Albeit, a far cuter mouse!  Let this be the only mouse in my life this year.  Please.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Time for Tea

Is there anything better than a cup of tea?  I say yes: sharing a cup of tea makes a good thing something wonderful. 

 These tea cups were a shower gift from my SIL
The spoons were given to my great-grandmother by my great-grandfather,
probably never used, but then given to me on my wedding day.

My love of tea isn't a secret; I have been receiving gifts of tea cups, pots, spoons, creamers and sugar bowls for as long as I can remember.  I have an extensive collection.  Nate happened to be cleaning (what?!) on Saturday, and showed some tea cups to Laura:

N: Hey Cait, have you ever even used these? 
C: Um, those cups? In the china cabinet? No. It's not like I often have a chance to throw a tea party!
N: Hey Cait, do you realize you have a 2 1/2 year old daughter?
C: Um....

So Laura and I had an impromtu tea party Saturday morning, complete with hats, little sandwiches and cookies.

 I see many more tea parties in our future.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

30Days of Thankful

November 1st through 6th
Because five collages of six days is how I roll.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween 2012

Laura and Gavin had a blast last night.  I knew Laura would.  She is so into playing dress-up and princess every day, that a whole night devoted to it was right up her alley.  And candy?  And other children running amok through the streets?  Awesome.

I was not expecting Gavin at just five months to have as much fun as he did.  He freaking loved Halloween!  He looked just like Hobbes in his little tiger costume, and couldn't have been more pleased with himself.

My favorite picture of Gavin the Tiger has to be from Trick or Treating, when he passed out like a frat boy with his foot in his candy bucket:

I posted a few more pictures from the evening over on my Facebook page (like me!). And now, a little retrospective of Halloweens Past:

Laura 2010: Tiger

Laura 2011: Boots the Monkey

Caitlin 1987: Sleeping Beauty