30 January 2013

Pantry Organization

One of my goals for 2012 was to get my pantry organized. I started by purchasing those little orange and yellow baskets from the $1 section at Target. I promptly put a bunch of sticky bottles in one, baking stuff in another, dried beans and rice in another, and a bunch of unbottled spices in another. (Those spices are mainly Indian spices that I got at the Asian food store, and they come in bags instead of bottles. It's not super convenient, but they are so much cheaper than those same spices purchased in bottles at regular grocery stores. Eventually I'll get some little containers for them.)

Then I didn't do anything for ages and ages. For Christmas I got some Rubbermaid containers to store my flour and sugar. I had cansiters before, but they were on my counter, and I was sick of them being there. They were not air-tight and also not very big. Now my flours and sugars are stored in air-tight containers in the pantry, and I have more counter space. (Not that I was lacking in counter space before, but I like a cleaner, uncluttered look.)

And what about those big buckets on the floor? Well, several months ago Eric heard on the Diane Rehm show about places in the world where people live a very long time. One of the things theses places have in common is their high consumption of beans and lentils. So Eric got it in his head that we needed to eat more beans and lentils. Even before this I'd say we were on the high-end of consumption of these things compared to other Americans. We usually buy cases of beans during case lot sales at the local grocery stores. Usually we only eat meat about twice a week. We really do eat a lot of beans.

Still, Eric was sure we needed more. So we bought a 25-pound bag of dry red beans from WinCo a few weeks before Christmas. At the same time we bought a 25-pound bag of lentils, a 25-pound bag of regular rice, and a 25-pound bag of jasmine rice. At that point we had a whole bunch of large bags of food on the floor of our pantry. I insisted that we get some of those big 5-gallon buckets to store all that food. Then Eric informed me that I wouldn't be able to easily get the lids on and off of those buckets since they often require a hammer to shut tightly. So we bought these fancy lids. You have to work hard to get them on initially, but then they open and close very easily. They are genius and totally worth the $6 that each costs.

And that's more than you ever cared to know about my pantry. Good heavens, I am boring.

22 January 2013

Cabin Fever

I'm 100% positive we are not the only people around here with some serious cabin fever. This winter has been abnormally cold, and the horrible Utah smog has been worse than usual, with red alerts in Utah County pretty much every day. That means my asthmatic boy, my asthmatic self and my infant are confined to indoor activities, even if the weather is warm enough that we could go outside. Even Eric is going stir crazy. Last week he started looking at flights to New Zealand. (Don't get your hopes up, Kiwi friends. He also looked at flights to Germany and Brazil. Those flights were about half as much as the ones to our home [far, far, far, far, far] away from home.

We decided on Saturday that we were going to do something fun on Monday since it was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Eric would have the day off. I suggested going to the Living Planet Aquarium. I figured it might be more than we really wanted to spend, but the kids would be free, and it would get us out of the house for something fun on Eric's last vacation day until May. (Seriously. He doesn't get President's Day next month. And we live in Utah where nobody gets Good Friday. We need more Catholics around here, that's what I say.) Anyway, we decided the aquarium was the place for us.

When we got there we were surprised to learn that memberships pay for themselves in slightly more than two visits. So we bought them. And I think ultimately we'll be glad we did. The place is a lot of fun. It's rather small, but it's designed with little kids in mind. Pretty much all the exhibits have steps for the children to climb on and peer in. Ike loves animals of all varieties, so this was a great hit. (We pretty much knew he'd love it since he loves to go look at the fish tanks in Wal Mart and PetSmart.) He also really loved the penguins, or "wahwins" as he calls them. (It's one of my favorite words of his. I don't know why.)

I don't have pictures because we were having too good a time enjoying ourselves.

14 January 2013

Movies and Books

On Saturday we finally made it out to see Lincoln. It had been on our to-see list since long before it came out. We loved it, by the way. If Daniel Day Lewis doesn't win all the Academy Awards in every single category for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln, then the Academy doesn't know what's what.

Pretty much every time I watch movies I end up thinking I should read. Usually my thoughts run along these lines:
  • "Wow, this movie is spectacularly bad. I could be spending this time doing something smart like reading a book."  
  • "It's been a long time since I read this. I should read it again."
  • "I'm glad I read this book (or re-read this book) right before the movie came out."
I left Lincoln really wanting to read Team of Rivals again. It's such a great book, but it's so long. I don't know if I will read it again, but I'll probably read parts of it, particularly the section about passing the 13th Amendment (which is what the film is about.)

Have any films inspired you to read lately?

09 January 2013


Sometimes you start a new year rejuvenated and excited. You're ready to make some goals and get a fresh start on various aspects of your life.

That is not how 2013 started for me. I had two weeks in a row (the one leading up to the new year, and then the first one of the new year) that were just not awesome. I won't bore you with all the details of my overwhelming working mom guilt, with the particular difficulties I experienced catering to the needs of a toddler and infant simultaneously, with my especially stressful and frustrating work challenges, nor with the general malaise I felt starting off the new year. I won't even pretend to be fully recovered from any of these challenges. But in general life is going much better, and I'm ready to set down some goals for 2013.

  • Run a 5K.
  • Allow myself to stop reading books when I realize I don't like them. Keeping a tally of the total number of books I've read is not as important as enjoying the books I've read.
  • Be a more present parent.
That's it. The first one has a directly achievable goal which I can cross off my list. The second is more of a quit-goal than an accomplishment goal. The third will be hard to measure and quantify, but I'm sure I can step away from the computer and sit with a kid or two in my lap more often.

So take that, lousy start to the new year. I'm going to show you who's boss.

(It's not me. The boss is actually the toddler in my house.)

06 January 2013

Felix: Three Months

And just like that my baby was three months old. It has gone by so much faster this time. I'm not sure why.

This boy is serious, and he's sometimes smiley. Yesterday he laughed for the first time, and it was totally out of the blue and utterly delightful. He loves to be held (thank heavens for the K'Tan), and he is getting better at falling asleep to the clickety clackety of typing. He has discovered his hands this month, although he doesn't yet know what to do with them.

He's also discovered his brother. If Ike is around there's a good chance that Felix has his eyes trained home. Felix is fascinated by Ike's movements, especially if he's spinning or dancing. Ike has also started to take more of an interest in Felix, but only a little bit. For the most part Ike just considers Felix a ... well, I don't think Ike really considers Felix much at all.

I don't know how much Felix weighs. I suppose I could hop on the scale with him and then hop off and weigh myself alone and then do the math, but I just haven't yet. I do know that he's little, though. How do I know? Because most of his 0-3 month clothes still swallow him, and he still wears several newborn-sized outfits. At least they are getting plenty of wear. I don't mind that he's small; it's much less tiring for me to tote him around or wear him.

We are loving having Felix in our family. And who wouldn't? Just look at him.

01 January 2013

2012 Places

These are the cities where I slept overnight in 2012:

Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Houston, Texas
Portland, Oregon
Anderson, California
Seattle, Washington
Kalaloch, Washington
Park City, Utah (Three times! Two family reunions and one work retreat.)
B-, Texas (near Dallas)

Not really sure what next year will bring. Most of my travel this year was for work, and I doubt I'll be doing as much of that in the coming year.