Tuesday, January 1, 2013


We were supposed to go to a party last night, but it was in Dallas (which, contrary to the term "DFW" and the fact that I can see the Dallas skyline out of my downtown Fort Worth office window, is not part of Fort Worth, but rather is an hour drive away; we've lived here for 10 months, we've been near Dallas only twice) and we couldn't get a sitter and Claire's been stubbornly sick, so we decided to have a family party at home. The kids and I piled in the car (with Bear still in her pj's, covered by a warm jacket) to make a quick Kroger run at 5 p.m. to pick up any party supplies remaining in the store display (only napkins and blowers could be found). We had to repurpose a few things in the house, but I think we made a nice table.


We enjoyed flank steak, riced potatoes, fresh veggies, bread, red wine, champagne, apple cider, and store bought desserts. Then JP and I enjoyed another bottle of champagne after the kids toddled off to bed at 8. We made it to midnight, barely.


Landon's highlight of the night (and possibly his whole year) was getting to drink his sparkling cider out of a champagne flute. Claire spent most of the meal in my lap, but we got her to eat everything on her plate. She managed the cupcake without any help at all.


Also yesterday, I flew in the face of my new health and fitness-based resolutions and made homemade cinnamon rolls. It just felt right.


This recipe is excellent, though next time I'm adding more powdered sugar to the icing and using salted butter (I wanted it a little sweeter; as it's written, it tastes mostly like cream cheese, and then I just like salt). The dough was easy to work with and rose beautifully and I love that it only makes 18. I do not need more than 1.5 dozen cinnamon rolls in my house.


As to goals for 2013, I have a few.

1. Get back on track with family walks. We have a 2.5 mile loop that runs through woods and streams and parks that we love, but we've fallen off the wagon in doing it. This is due largely to the fact that the training wheels on Landon's bike are almost completely worn away, resulting in lots of falls and tears and frustration, but our one attempt to teach him to ride his bike without training wheels was so disastrous that none of us has even mentioned it again. Luckily, Landon got a scooter from my parents for Christmas, so now he scoots along while I once again get exercise in the only form I do not hate (well, that and hiking, but hiking is really just walking with an incline and better scenery).

(Daddy, "borrowing" the scooter to see if Tex could be eligible for sled dog training)

2. Pick up the free weights sitting in the closet in the family room and do a few reps any time I sit down and turn on the TV. Thanks to swimming and then carrying around my babies, my arms are fairly toned. I'd like to keep them that way (yes, it's purely superficial, but I'm told weight-bearing exercise has health benefits as well). The weights are right there, there's no reason I can't pick them up when I'm hanging out at night or while the kids are napping on the weekends. The same reasoning should apply to doing a few sit-ups, but let's not get crazy.


3. Make vegetables with every dinner. Also, learn ways to make vegetables that do not involve steaming. I don't mind the occasional steamed vegetable, but there has got to be other ways to make a healthy vegetable side dish.

4. Re-start a vacation savings account as soon as JP gets a job. There are many things demanding financial attention, but in reviewing our pictures from 2012, absolutely none stand out so brightly as our January ski trip. It was expensive and we saved money in a special online savings account for 2 years to do it, but it made memories for a lifetime. And next trip, the kids should actually be able to remember it for a lifetime too!

5. Stop pussyfooting around about baby #3. Stop letting fear of transient inconveniences or uncertainty (JP's unemployment; fear of newborns and their sleep/wake cycles; hatred of pregnancy; our current uncertainty on where we might be living 6 months from now; weight gain; weight loss; money; the return to diapers; more daycare just when we are about to downsize to only 1 attendee; car size; house size; money; fear of newborns; JP's unemployment; etc, etc, etc.) get in the way of a life-long decision. Decide, move forward, stop talking about it. And then work on reacquiring all the baby stuff we gave away when we moved. (Update: To be clear, my goal is to resolve our constant "should we have another?" discussions by the end of the year. I am decidedly not pregnant. We are decidedly not resolved. If JP ever actually read this blog he would have a panic attack at your lovely congratulatory comments :).

on board; practicing

6. Support JP. Both in unemployment and the job search generally and his new business venture specifically. I'm not going to lie, it scares the hell out of me (both of those things, but the new venture even more), but it's something he believes in and desperately wants to do (no matter how much he holds back from pressuring me on supporting it). In the short term, this means being his sounding board and enthusiastic co-worker at the end of the day when most of the time I just want to tune out and watch West Wing re-runs. This is his dream; he deserves this chance; and as I have to keep reminding myself (and we learned the hard way this year), every job has risks, including working for the large, stable Fortune 100 company of my risk-averse dreams.

2012 brought us a new job for me, Fort Worth, home renovations, two trips to Colorado, new friends, and new opportunities. I'm looking forward to what 2013 has to offer, and I'm hoping a new, exciting job for JP, preferably in Fort Worth, and some good news on a few critical items regarding the new business, are first up on the list. (Job first though, please; someone has to worry about our mortgage and that someone has insomnia that is highly correlated with stress. Fully supportive stress.)


Happy 2013!


  1. 5. I think this means congratulations!

    1. Ha, no, definitely not yet. We are still in the hypothetical pussyfooting stage of things. It's very early in 2013 after all and these are year long goals!

  2. Exciting decisions being made! Three is wonderful chaos!

    Happy New Year!

  3. Happy new year! I'm not sure if I should say to all four or five of you, but either way, I hope it's a wonderful one!

    1. FOUR! JP would have a panic attack if he ever actually read this. I am resolved to come to a decision, we are not resolved on what the decision will be.

  4. Weight bearing exercises are excellent for your health - they burn calories for a longer period of time post-exercise than cardio exercise, they increase bone density - especially important for women - and more muscle means a higher caloric intake to maintain the current weight - so you have so many more reasons that just awesome toned arms to do weights. :)

  5. I join you in pussyfooting. May we both get to a decided stage. :) Great resolutions!

    I use olive oil spray and sautee frozen green beans. If you add lemon juice and spices, it's awesome. Can do the same with broccoli. You can do them from frozen or can put frozen in colander and run some water over them for a few minutes to "defrost". Also could add a sprinkle of parmesan as you are sauteeing if your family finds a slight bit of cheese more paletable. It's still mostly veggie but has enough of a cheesy flavor to satisfy without being a cheese sauce. Final thought = stir fry (you can do the veggies without the meat as a side dish).

    Try to sleep and trust that the good will come.

  6. Another green bean idea: (I use fresh most of the time, but have also used frozen) Parboil green beans for about 3-5 minutes. Then add butter and Good Seasons Italian dressing (the powder). I just do it to taste. You can either reheat it on the stove or in the oven. My kids were not/still aren't green bean lovers, but most of them eat this with no problem ...... or complaining!

  7. I also need to learn how to cook more types/styles of vegetables. This year I got adventurous and tried brussel sprouts (not to bad), artichoke (I still have NO idea how to eat one) and cabbage (could have been better).

    Happy 2013!

  8. Two veggie suggestions for you:
    We really like edamame beans. I make them in the microwave, from a steamer bag. You can buy them in or out of pods. I like the convenience of the pre-shelled ones. Also, we use yams like baked potatoes, in yam fries (baked) or as baked yams (cut open after cooking and add butter, salt, pepper as desired).

  9. Roast your veggies. I've gound almost all veggies taste amazing and more rich when roasted. Brussels sprouts, green beans, carrots, peppers, squash... all are amazing just cut (as needed) and tossed with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.

  10. Mark Bittman has two cookbooks - "How to cook everything" and "How to cook everything Vegetarian" - that are filled with ways to easily cook vegetables other than by steaming them. We got them as wedding presents, if you're not vegetarian and only want to buy one cook book, the "how to cook everything" still has a lot of suggestions for vegetable dishes. Plus the sections on meat and poultry will give you more fast, easy, and tasty selections for main courses as well.

  11. Grilling does amazing things to asparagus. Drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and throw them on the grill pan until they look, well, grilled!

  12. Roast a veggie medley (whatever you like, but I do peppers, red onion, carrots, asparagus) by tossing in a little olive oil and garlic powder, salt and pepper. My other absolute FAVORITE is to roast cauliflower:

    • 1head cauliflower
    • 1tablespoon coconut oil, or olive oil
    • ½teaspoon salt
    • 1tablespoon ginger, peel and finely mince
    • 1lemon
    Preparation Instructions
    Preheat the oven to 425.
    Trim the cauliflower and break into bite size floret pieces. Dollop on the coconut oil and sprinkle with the salt. Place in the oven for 15 minutes.
    Using a microplane, zest the ginger (i just use ground ginger) and lemon, toss with a bit of melted coconut or olive oil to make a little sauce that is easier to spread on the cauliflower. When the cauliflower has roasted for 15 minutes, remove and toss with the ginger & lemon zest. Toss.
    Return to the oven, tossing every 5-10 minutes until the cauliflower is golden.

    This cauliflower thing is like candy to me! I once ate an entire head of cauliflower in one sitting. =)

  13. Lurker here. I agree with the roasted veggie suggestions. For the cauliflower, try it as roasted above, but sprinkled with just olive oil, salt, and pepper. Or with just olive oil and curry powder and salt. Both quite tasty, and my 2-year-old loves both.
    Speaking of whom, there's a 2yr, 9mo gap between my first two kids, very intentional, then a 4yr 5mo gap to my third. Lots of indecision. I finally decided I was getting too old to wait much longer, and that I would regret it if I didn't get the chance to go through the fun parts again. Yes, three has been a LOT of work, but the majority of the time I don't regret it. . .
    As for dropping the training wheels, take them off and take off the pedals at the same time, and drop the seat as low as it goes so he can glide and put both his feet down flat. Once he really gets the feeling of balance and gliding, especially on a slight slope where he can really go a long ways and experiment a little with turning, then it's no big deal to put the pedals back on and balance the same way with his feet on them.
    Good luck!

  14. Roast the veggies! Cauliflower works great. As per advice above, sprinkle with olive oil, salt or pepper. (Can also use olive oil spray). You can also sprinkle with grated Parm. Cauliflower is the fave veg of my kids. Also, cauliflower also lasts a bit longer in the fridge so you are usually OK to buy it fresh on weekend and not roast until Wed/Thurs.

    Re training wheels: this advice is a bit late. Our oldest had same trial/tribulations with removing training wheels. Our youngest rode a 2-wheeler, no training wheels at age 4 1/2. Difference: we never put on the training wheels for youngest. She used a Like-a-Bike (no pedals, just a balance bike) and became a whiz on the thing. When we put her on the 2 wheeler it was a matter of teaching her how to get going (took about 15 min, I do not exaggerate). MUCH easier.

  15. Another longtime lurker, jumping in to second the advice on turning the bike into a balance bike. My 5yo was at the same stage as Landon for a long time and the training wheels were falling apart. So we dropped the seat, took off the pedals, and he learned to balance that way. It took him a couple of weeks to really get the hang of that (and stop just walking with the bike between his legs), and then we put on the pedals and that was that. No running after him, almost no frustration (and he's easily frustrated).

    And yes, I'm with you on the #3 dilemma. Ask Moxie just posted a question about it, with lots of helpful comments. It doesn't help that I'm inclined to go for it despite truly awful pregnancies (borderline HG) while my husband is actively celebrating the last baby milestones of our 20 month-old. Sigh.