31 December 2011

2011 - In Review

I know some people might think the following Internet meme is lame, or at the very least a lazy way of writing, but I think it really is a great way to sum up my year. So there.

1. What did you do in 2011 that you'd never done before?
I bought a house.

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Sadly, no. I read 48 books when my goals was 52. I had also set a goal early in the year, when I was still working full-time, to cook real, actual food at least 3 days per week. I didn't really start doing that consistently until I started working part-time. Now we eat real food most every day. Also I planned on blogging at least 3 times per week. Ha!
For next year I'll read 52 books again. I'll also be setting some other goals that I may or may not write about.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes. I got two nephews this year. 

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Sadly, this question ought to be attached to the one before. I also have good friends who had very premature twins who died.

5. What countries did you visit?
Just America this year. Boo. But within America we went to Texas, Jackson Hole, and to Kansas City, Missouri.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
I am never at a loss for things I could use.

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
October 6. It's a long story. Maybe I'll tell it one day. But probably not.

8. What was your biggest personal achievement of the year?
Working, wife-ing and mom-ing simultaneously. Of course, with different variations of success at different points.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Trying to wean the kid and get him to drink cow's milk.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Several colds and a nasty virus. Pregnancy and subsequent childcare has ruined my immune system.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Our house is pretty awesome. We also got a great dining set for a great price, and we bought a new TV for Christmas (funded mostly by Eric's work.)

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Ike's. He has learned so many new tricks, and we love to celebrate them.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I'm going to omit this answer, though I do have somebody in mind.

14. Where did most of your money go?
The house. That down payment plus subsequent payments. Dude.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The weekends. Always, always, always the weekends.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
Rebecca Black's Friday.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
a) happier
b) thinner (Hooray for breastfeeding!)
c) poorer - Mostly because I'm only working part-time, but also because our wealth is now tied into the house.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Late night feedings.

20. Did you fall in love in 2011?
Yes, with my dishwasher, washer and dryer. (How boring am I?)

21. What was your favorite TV program?
Still 30 Rock and also we like Downton Abbey and Person of Interest.

22. What was the best book you read?
Unbroken:  A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand. So awesome. Just go read it.

23. What was your greatest musical discovery?
This answer always, always, always goes back to NPR. I don't even know what the music stations are.

24. What did you want and get?
A house. A new TV. Some mixing bowls.

25. What did you want and not get?
Various furnishings for my house. They'll come.

26. What was your favorite film of this year?
The final installment of Harry Potter, I guess. We watch a ton of mvoies via Netflix, so we tend to be fairly behind. There are still heaps from 2011 we haven't seen yet.

27. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I worked from home, packed for a trip and ate the Cafe Rio Eric brought home for me after a long day of work. I turned 27.

28. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Figuring out earlier how to balance work with home life.

29. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
I just try to get non-pajamas on every day.

30. What kept you sane?
Working. It really brings a lot of satisfaction to my life, and I feel incredibly lucky that I have a job that I can do from home so that I can do the mom thing and the work thing simultaneously. Seriously, I love it.

27 December 2011

Backhanded Compliment

There is somebody I work with who does not work in my office. She used to work in another local office but then got transferred within the company to a location out of state. When she still worked in the state she would spend one or two days per week in our office. She was transferred around April, which was right around the time that I went from working full-time to working part-time. It was also around the time that Ike got laid off.

So, we hadn't seen much of each other for a few months. As I said in my post about Ike's lay-off, going from full-time to part-time was a good change for me. It created a much better balance in my life. One of the effects was that I started consistently trying to look nice at work - a thing I'd pretty much given up on at the end of my pregnancy and in Ike's early months when I was too tired and too rushed to really make attempts at doing my hair and make-up. Those were the months when this colleague had most recently been around me consistently, and I'm sure those images of me were the ones that were clearest in her mind because they were the freshest.

That was all the back-story. Here is the story:

This colleague was holding a training meeting that everyone in my office needed to attend. For some reason I was late to the training meeting, so I popped in about 10 minutes after it had started and took a seat toward the back - maybe about 20 feet away from the front of the room.

After the meeting the colleague said to me, "You look really good! I didn't even recognize you when you first came in."

I was a little taken aback. I said, "Wow, I must have looked really bad those first few post-baby months." Admittedly, this was not the best way for me to respond to my colleague's compliment. Then again, her compliment was not very tactful.

She then realized how badly her compliment came off, and we both kind of laughed it off and she gave me more compliments on losing baby weight and we chatted about life after having a baby and other things.

This exchange has left me thinking a lot about things that come out of our mouths in ways we did not intend at all. Anyone willing to share some examples?

18 December 2011

All I Want For Christmas . . .

It really isn't that hard to think about things you want or things that would be nice to have. When Eric's sister asked us what we wanted for Christmas over instant message, we ended up with this little chat:

Michelle: What do you want for Christmas?
 Sherry: the seventh and eighth harry potter movies.
 Michelle: Really?
 Sherry: well, i do want them.
  also i want a Kindle or other such ereader.
  and i want curtains for my kitchen and back doors.
  and an area rug in my living room.
 Michelle: Hold up
 Sherry: and a runner rug in my hallway downstairs.
  and a bedroom set.
 Michelle: What can we give you with our budget?
 Sherry: :)
 let's go with the bedroom set.
 Michelle: ha ha ha
  is cardboard okay?
 me: as long as it's a sleigh bed.
 Michelle: we'll spray paint it whatever color you'd like.
 me: dark wood.
  but not cherry.
 Michelle: Brown then...
 me: and not black.
  yeah, a darkish brown, but not too dark.
 Michelle: "Grandfather's shoe" brown then
 me: also, more bookshelves. we need more bookshelves.
 Michelle: STOP ALREADY!

So you see, I'm never at a loss for things that I want, especially things for my home. And then when I start thinking about the fact that our back yard has to be in place by next July, and our gold car has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and our red car cannot possibly run much longer than the gold, and Ike has just about outgrown his infant car seat and on and on and on, I can find myself becoming a little overwhelmed.

Yesterday was not the perfect Saturday. Ike is still getting over this odd stomach bug that we expected to last 48 hours and his gone on for more like 96. Eric got called in to cover a shift. In the olden days that would mean overtime, but now it just means extra work for no extra money because he is on salary. My house was messy because I'm not ordinarily an amazing housekeeper PLUS Ike and I have been sick. My house was also cold because I keep it cold to save money on utilities. Whine whine whinewhinewhine ad nauseum.

And then I remembered some awesome things. My husband has a job. I also have a job. We have a home to live in. We all have good health. We can afford to buy the things we need and some of the things we want. I thought a lot about my brother-in-law serving a mission in Ghana, who had recently been working in a Liberian refugee camp. I stopped feeling sorry for myself. I could go on and on with our many blessings, but just thinking about those was enough to pull me out of my self-absorbed doldrums.

16 December 2011


I haven't written in ten days, so we'll do what I always do when I get behind - write a hodgepodge post.


I am working on one of those "my ancestor is a Native American" cases. The client's grandfather always said that his grandmother was a Cherokee. In researching both his maternal and paternal grandmothers I've found that both had sons given the first and middle name of Andrew Jackson. Dear client, your Cherokee ancestors were not very good Cherokees. (I'm not making that up.)


I just finished another case wherein I was pleased to solve a problem and finish the case in time for the Jewish client to receive the package by Christmas. (I'm not making that up either.)


I'm still on Pinterest, but I'm not pinning as prodigiously as I once was. I like to think that I've toned things down and am a more conscientious pinner. (Seriously, all you pinners need to go read RA's post about her own pinning. Don't let Pinterest take over your lives.)


Of the recipes I mentioned in the prodigious pinning post, I really think that only the citrus black beans were a huge hit. I've made them several times since that initial time, and they are always tasty, simple and healthy. The carrot ginger soup was pretty blah in my book, though Eric and Ike seemed to like it. The sweet potato quesadillas were fine, but nothing to write home about. (I'm not even going to bother linking to those others again because I just can't go to the trouble of linking to something that isn't awesome. You can go to my prodigious pinning post (linked above) if you want the links.)


I worked hard on a few of the Christmas gifts I'm giving this year. Then I heard a bit on NPR about how expensive gifts and time-intensive gifts usually mean more to the giver than the receiver. I fear I have fallen into that category. But what can be done? They are already wrapped and shipped (where applicable).


Ike and I got colds. Then we got better. Then Eric got a cold which he gave to Ike and me. Then we got better except for Ike's lingering cough. Then I took Ike to his 12-month appointment, at which the doctor informed me that Ike had an ear infection. He said not to worry about the cough and that it would probably clear up with the antibiotics, but if it weren't for the antibiotics (which were prescribed solely for the ear infection) then Ike might just have a cough all winter long. It's in the genes. Then Ike got some nasty stomach bug, possibly from the babysitter and her boy who had a stomach bug recently. She and her boy seemed to have had a much worse case than what Ike has. He doesn't seem to mind being ill, but I don't like changing a billion diapers a day. When will the 48 hours end? Also, his bug prevented me from going to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Christmas concert tonight. (I obviously wasn't going to have our friends watch Ike and subject them to his germs. I'm very thoughtful in that way.)

The point is, we seem to get sick a lot around here.


I sweep my kitchen floor every day. When people talk about the lifestyle changes that come with having a baby they fail to mention the sweeping.


In Utah it is common for people to take small gifts to their neighbors. So far we have gotten homemade potpourri, and it is awesome. Also some homemade gift tags that are also awesome. The bar is high. We will just duck under it, I think. Thankfully, Pinterest has given me some good gift ideas.

06 December 2011

One Year

It's been a great year! Having Ike in our family has made us far happier than we ever could have imagined.

This month's developments have included, walking (I'd say about 30% of the distance he travels these days is accomplished via walking), clapping (I was thrilled beyond words when he just spontaneously did that when he saw Eric and me doing it - all that practice finally paid off), and his two front teeth arriving with no fanfare (I didn't even know he was teething and then BAM! Two new teeth!).

Ike has been pulling books out of bookshelves, CDs out of CD shelves and pots out of the pantry for at least a month. Lately he has even begun trying to put things back, or at the very least to put things somewhere. He likes to take his train tracks out of their bin and then drop them back in.

He thinks the Christmas tree is great. If only he could reach those shiny glass balls that have been placed so high on the tree!

He likes most food that we offer him but still will not take cow's milk. This is a bit of a problem since I'm now weaning him. He is very resistant to being weaned, and it makes me sad. But not sad enough to keep nursing him much longer. His favorite food is probably bananas. He goes ape over them. (Har!)

Ike jabbers and jabbers all day. He still loves watching people, especially kids. He likes to be chased, tickled, and thrown high in the air. His favorite toys are Tobias the sock monkey, his toy radio, his train tracks (which he just holds in his hands and waves in the air), and all round ball-like objects. He also loves to climb the stairs, though he still doesn't know how to come down.

I really couldn't ask for a better baby.

This is Ike enjoying the Christmas decorations.
 When it's time to eat, Ike means business. We get such a kick out of watching him open his mouth as wide as possible.