Friday, December 30, 2011

Get out of here, 2011

Let's wrap up the worst year ever 2011, shall we?

First, a month-by-month:

January: Paisley turned 3, Dan's brother got married, I talked about trying to conceive and we started our house hunt

February: Outrageous Kid Parties and the spoiled brats who have them graced our television screen (and recaps graced my blog) and we had a contract on our first home, as well as a moving date.

At this point I took a break to reread my OKP recaps because they are just that funny. Go read them. I'll wait.

Okay, we're back. Moving on

March: We closed and moved into the house and did a quick remodel of the kitchen. We also used a Groupon deal on some new pictures as a (very) belated anniversary session.

April: My sister got married and I made the cupcakes for her wedding. We also hit the one-year mark of trying to conceive

May: We began infertility testing, but I didn't blog about it since we didn't get results until June. For the most part, May was just about little decorating projects and meal plans.

June: We got his and hers results on our infertility testing and I said good-bye to my 20's with a fabulous 30th birthday party thrown by my awesome friend, Mrs. ESPN

July: We met with the infertility specialist and learned that maybe things weren't as hopeless as we feared. Somewhere over the next 4 months, though, we got additional testing and information I haven't shared here and we decided that we weren't as open to assisted reproductive technologies as we thought when we weighed all the risks and costs. I also did a (no) cafeteria challenge and saved myself about $150.

August: Clover turned 2, our gallery wall got a new coat of paint, I discovered Pinterest, and threw my dear friend Rachel a bridal shower. I also poured my infertile little heart out with a letter to my friends.

September: More Pinterest projects, and I got pissed.

October: I was in my best friend's wedding, and we celebrated our 2-year anniversary. I met Brie and Temerity Jane (and the fabulous Penny, of course). We went trick-or-treating with our friend's kids. I also started therapy to help me with the emotions related to our infertility

November: I bullied a sucker into letting me steal her lunch bag, ate a bunch of turkey, and was thankful. We hosted our first Thanksgiving with my parents, in-laws, and two of Dan's aunts. I also got a Kindle from my sweetie-pie husband.

December: It was a busy month. I got a fierce new hair color ("blackity brown"), hosted a jewelry party, and turned my cubicle wall into a giant advent calendar, none of which I blogged about. I did, however show you my tree skirt. We hosted Christmas here at the house with my parents, in-laws, and my sister and her husband in attendance. I've been off all week and haven't really done a darn thing but pin ideas for my craft room.

And now, a look back on what did and didn't get accomplished in 2011 (the latter should certaintly improve my mood)...

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before? We bought a house. That's pretty significant. I also got big (for me) into crafting, which may or may not count as a first since I fell in love with baking as a craft in 2009.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Ha, nope. Still on BP meds, and still haven't lost weight. Awesome. The focus on 2012 for me is about shedding all sorts of things, though, and I'm hoping that finding my happy again also means finding myself lighter and healthier. I'm not looking at that failure as a true failure. Call it an excuse if you will, but I had bigger emotional fish to fry than losing weight, quite honestly.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Nope, but once again, some wonderful blog friends did, and there will be more in 2012.

4. Did anyone close to you die? Yes. We lost my uncle in April

5. What countries did you visit? I didn't travel outside the U.S. this year

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011? Emotional peace and a craft room

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? March 9 and 11 - closing and move-in day, respectively. April 11 - the one-year mark. June 28 - my 30th birthday. June 29 - Dan's test result day.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Buying the house and getting rid of the horrid green paint job in the master bathroom

9. What was your biggest failure? Must I state the obvious?

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I suppose you could say that.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Aside from the house, the new appliances

12. Where did most of your money go? The house

13. What did you get really excited about? Starting a family. Now I'm looking forward to have a custom craft room

14. What song will always remind you of 2011? Anything by our friends, Poz and InfeKt

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? sadder, though I'm getting closer to finding my happiness
– thinner or fatter? the same
– richer or poorer? poorer

16. What do you wish you’d done more of? Traveling

17. What do you wish you’d done less of? Crying

18. How did you spend Christmas? We hosted. We had a tasty brunch and then a delicious roast beef dinner.

19. What was your favorite TV program? Pretty much anything on Food Network, and Outrageous Kid Parties, of course

20. What were your favorite books of the year? The Hunger Games trilogy

21. What was your favorite music from this year? I am loving the new Korn and Chevelle

22. What were your favorite films of the year? We didn't see many movies, so it's not too hard to pick. I really liked The Help. Oh, and Bridesmaids. Duh.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 30, and my friend Mrs. ESPN threw me a party

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? A baby

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010? I don't change much really. I'm a jeans girl and I pair them with whatever is comfy. This is the year I added headbands, though

26. What kept you sane? My husband. My dear, sweet, incredible husband.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011 Always be kinder than you have to be, you never know what struggle someone is facing.

See last year's wrap-up here

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Christmas Wishes

Tis the season for giving, and gifting, and wishing. We all have a wish list, right? It may be in the form of a Pinterest board or just a mental list. Some may be wants, and some may be needs, and some are downright fantasies. Here is what I’m wishing for this Christmas.

My bedroom to be painted. Dan started on it after Black Friday when I bought him his gift: a 40” flat screen. He painted the wall opposite the bed blue just enough to hang the TV at first, then went back and finished most of it. But it’s still not done – the edges are white still, and technically, it’s only the accent wall and we plan to do the other 3 a coordinating taupe. I’d like it to be done in a timely fashion. That would be a great gift.

Gift cards for my Kindle. I’ve read something like 8 books so far since I got the thing 5 weeks ago and my love for reading has been…. rekindled. Gift cards for more books would be a wonderful.

Clothes. I get so tired of my wardrobe. The fashion boards on Pinterest don’t help. I try not to spend much on clothes, but I would love love love a little shopping spree.

A day where I don’t feed anyone. I realized the other day that I’m pretty much responsible for feeding everything that lives in our house. I make breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for me and Dan and I feed the dogs 99% of the time. Dan is self-sufficient, obviously, but if I don’t pack his lunch, he won’t and then he has to eat out and have whatever’s convenient. I personally prefer to know he’s eating homemade food. We also currently have a roommate as well as our friend staying with us pre-deployment, so I'm cooking almost every dinner for 4 (because I'm not going to not feed them). I would kill for a day where all meals for everyone are delivered in healthy, portioned little packages and I don’t have to think about the shopping, cooking, or clean-up. Basically, I’m asking for a personal chef, people.

My craft room. As bittersweet as it is that the guest room isn’t going to be a nursery, I’m excited to design my craft room. I want to build the desk for it and figure out where to put everything so I can conveniently create everything I desire. Not to mention, having the craft room done would mean that the room would be settled and not just a storage space for the stuff we don’t know what to do with. I’m excited about the challenge to make a functional space for both our hobbies as well as a home away from home for our guests. I would love to be able to just spend a week getting it done with no distractions.

Related: a sewing machine. There are so many things I have pinned or could pin on Pinterest that I need one for. Trust me, I never thought I would have a sewing machine, but I’m feeling so inspired lately to try new things and create to my heart’s content. Not to mention, crafting has become a therapeutic outlet for me, and I simply need more tools. Glue guns aren't for everything, sadly.

For my heart to not hurt. I know. A crappy sentiment. I can be okay with the no-kid situation. It will take time and therapy is so helpful but I just want so badly to not be sad. When people ask what I want for Christmas, I mostly just want to say, “to be my happy self again.” Anything else honestly feels trivial compared to just wanting to wake up and feel at peace. I’ll get there, but it would be a wonderful and welcomed Christmas present, even if it comes later in the year.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Oh, Christmas Tree!

One of my very favorite holiday traditions is picking out the Christmas tree. My parents have always done fresh trees (except for the year they got a live in-the-planter tree) and it's a tradition I intend to keep as long as possible. I know they're pricey and messy, but to me, it's just not negotiable. Dan and I have only ever had a small tabletop-sized tree, but now that we're in the house, this was the first year we got to pick out a full size stunner.

On Saturday, we started a fun new tradition. We went out for dinner at PF Chang's with our friend and her two kids and then went to the lot to pick out our trees. It was really fun to make it a special night out. Dan and I just adore the kids, and their mom and I have gotten closer over the last 6 months, so it was really fun to have that time making memories with them. After we picked out our trees - both of which were strapped to the top of her Honda Pilot - we got to work decorating ours (she's waiting until Wednesday when her husband returns from a civilian assignment in Afghanistan to decorate theirs). I hit the jackpot at Kohl's on some very inexpensive ornaments, and used our old red and white balls to make a candy cane inspired tree that matches our mantle and also goes with mine and Dan's stockings.

No tree of mine would be complete without a Pinterest project, so I used the tutorial found here to make a fun linen-white and red ruffled tree skirt. Even though it was super easy (and made with my favorite method of attachment, the glue gun) I almost instantly regretted signing up for this. It didn't take that long, but it was kind of a pain. The cutting and the ruffling and the gluing just took it's toll on my psyche about 90 minutes in. But I just love how it came out. Once again, pardon my crappy photography. Maybe someday I'll use a real camera :)

So, I'm ready! Bring on Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The One Where I Set Aside the Glue Gun

Helloooo! How are we all on this brisk morning? I love the cold weather. We don't get a lot of it, so when we do, I take full advantage of the ability to wear boots, scarves and sweaters. So I was perusing wintery outfits on Pinterest the other day and came along this little gem:

And I said to myself, "self, that's a really cute scarf. I wonder where I can get one of those for my collection." And I clicked over, expecting to find a link to some retail outlet, and lo and behold! It was a tutorial for how to make one of my very own. And I just happened to have some white felt (she recommends felt or felted wool) left over from another project.

I admit, it was kind of time consuming. But I had the house to myself Sunday afternoon for circle cutting, and I finished the assembly last night. It came out cute, don't you think?

Okay, so I discovered it's kind of hard to get a flattering photo of yourself in a scarf. Or maybe I was too picky. But you get the gist. I think I've got a new Christmas gift idea. At the price per yard of felt, I think it's a pretty good bang for your buck.

Have you done any projects lately?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Meal Plan Monday: After Turkey Palooza

I'm a day late. Sorry. One great thing I discovered whilst doing the big Turkeypalooza meal plan last week is that my husband looooooves pot pie. I wouldn't call it my favorite thing ever, but I love finding something he really likes. And you know he likes it a whole heck of a lot when he asks me to make it again aoon. And so, my meal plan this week:

Monday: We made faux spaghetti with turkey sausage and peppers, substituting spaghetti squash for actual pasta. Delish!

Tuesday: Pot pie. Ask and you shall receive, hubs. I actually have chicken in the crock pot today for two meals. I'm cooking it in cream of mushroom soup so that it will be moist and flavorful for both the pot pie and tomorrow's meal, which is....

Wednesday: Enchiladas. I never made them last week. I forgot that our roommate (yes, roommate. A friend of Dan's, a recently divorced chef) was cooking us dinner and we had a ton of leftovers from that.

Thursday: I'm hosting a jewelry party and will be doing some heavy apps for dinner

Friday: We should easily have leftovers of something, and Dan and I may actually end up going to CA for the day (favor for a friend), so I'm not planning on cooking.

Pretty simple and easy stuff. This week is crazy busy, so the easier the better. All I have to do these next two evenings is do about 20 minutes of prep and pop something in the oven. Perfect!