Monday, December 31, 2012

Review challenges and highlights

Review of 2012 Challenges
1. Get in shape to run the Get in Gear 5K in April.
-- Did sort of do this one. I didn't get in shape but I mostly walked the Get in Gear 5K and came in with a time under 60 minutes (my goal) so I consider this one, Challenge completed.
2. Create and maintain this blog.
-- Did decent on this one. I have over 100 posts. Yay me! Challenge completed.
3. Keep little monster's baby book/calendar up to date.
-- Did okay with this one. Kind of fell off on the calendar because nothing was really happening, but picking it up again lately so will be documenting more. The baby book needs work because I haven't taken the time to scrapbook in a while. Consider this, Challenge Accepted.
4. Find a job I'll enjoy or find a way to enjoy my job.
-- Somewhat enjoying my work environment but not so much the actual work that I do... Consider this Challenge Accepted.

--Possibly work on #3 and 4 for the next few months...

Highlights of 2012
1. BFL is expecting, due in February!
2. Little Brother home twice.
3. Monster's abilities moving along nicely.
4. New nephew born in July.

Challenges for 2013
1. Quit caffeine totally. 
2. Learn more about/put into practice clean eating/whole foods/veganism.
3. Take me time every week and date nights/2 of us time every week.
4. Run (actually run at least part of) the Get in Gear 5K in April. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Santa Baby...

Slip a sable under the tree for me. I've been an awful good girl, Santa Baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight...

Tonight dinner and presents with my parents and brother, tomorrow Santa presents and breakfast with my little family of 3 and then dinner and presents with MIL and Little brother and then on Wednesday, we're doing a special gift for my MIL, a trip to the cities and visit to the science museum and Mall of America.

Hope your Christmas is merry and bright!

Happy Holidays.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

low back pain... what a pain

So I've been dealing with some low back pain for a while now. Like seriously burning/stabbing pain that lasts for hours and doesn't easily go away. I went to the doctor for some osteopathic manipulation (think chiropractor but with muscle energy). What did she tell me? That I was fat and out of shape with no core strength and this would be a chronic problem if I didn't do something ASAP. Well actually, the word was obese and I did not enjoy hearing that one.

My advice to those mamas out there... lose that baby weight as soon as you are able and keep your core strengthened... do pilates, stretching, and yoga along with all that cardio/weight training work.

PSA over.

Back to my sedentary lifestyle of staring at a computer screen for hours on end. :-) Maybe 2013 will be the year that the weight/get in shape resolution actually sticks?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

shepherd's pie... cottage pie...

A proper shepherd's pie is made with lamb. The same dish made with beef or other ground meat is a cottage pie. My take on this recipe is a little different because I add different vegetables than the standard carrot, onion, and peas.

I had the best shepherd's pie of my life in Prague, of all places. We visited Prague while studying abroad and went to an English style pub. Go figure. Anyway. It was delicious.

Caitlin's Cottage Pie

1 pound ground turkey
1 16 oz bag frozen mixed vegetables (carrot, peas, Lima beans, green beans, corn)
2 cups prepared mashed potatoes (use leftover or make your own)
1 Tbsp and 1-2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, divided
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup chicken stock
Seasoned salt (or salt) to taste
Mrs. Dash (or pepper) to taste
1/2 cup shredded cheese (if desired)

Preheat oven to 350* Grease a baking dish and set aside.

In a large frying pan, brown ground turkey and season with salt and pepper and 1-2 tsp Worcestershire sauce. Add bag of frozen veggies to ground turkey and heat through. In smaller pan, melt butter and add flour. Cook together for 1 minute. Whisk in chicken stock and 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce. Cook until sauce has thickened a little bit. Should be the consistency of gravy and coat the back of a spoon. Combine sauce and turkey-veggie mixture. Pour into greased baking dish and top with mashed potatoes. Can top with shredded cheese or leave plain. Bake 25-30 minutes. Take out of oven and let sit for 10 or so minutes. Enjoy.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Happy 100th!!

This is my 100th post. Crazy. Didn't know i had it in me. And in less than a year. Anyhoo here's my tree,

Can I just say that I love Christmas music? I was so excited to find out that all season one of the radio stations around here is playing all Christmas all the time. Yay! I've heard everything from the classic "Christmas song" to N*Sync...

listening to N*Sync just makes me feel young... I always was a 98 Degrees kind of a girl though. What about you? Backstreet Boys? N*Sync? 98 Degrees? Or something different?

Anyhoo, back to the Christmas music... my favorite CD of all time is the Amy Grant "Home for Christmas". I play it every year and sing along... loudly!! :-)

At my last job, I sat right underneath one of the overhead speakers and from the day after Thanksgiving until New Year's I loved it because they played Christmas music. The rest of the year it was just in the background.

Some of my favorite decorations,

Happy Holidays Friends!!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

want some cheese...

with that whine? Pardon me for a moment while I complain... Today started out like that kids book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Monster was being more monstery than normal. Damn babies teething... augh.
It was raining, hard, and I couldn't find my umbrella, i have to walk 2 blocks from the parking ramp to my building, and there's a hole in my shoe. Did I mention my foot hurts? Then I found my umbrella and it stopped raining...
My cats suck. They fight, run around, crash into things, make lots of noise, shit on the floor, and try to eat my gloves.
People cannot drive well. Did they forget how or just not learn? Stop at a green light, go at a red light? Really?

Oh yeah, my cube-buddy at work? Got a new job and is leaving soon. Now who's going to make me coffee? and make me laugh?

What a shitty start to this day. This, my daughter, is what is called when you're a grown up, a bad day. Can I start this day over again please?

And now, back to your regularly scheduled blog reading. Thanks.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanks giving

This year has been tough; from finding out about monster's medical issues to dealing with my postpartum stuff and hubby's feelings of being overworked and under appreciated. But, I am happy to say we are all healthy, happy, and hopefully on the right track. And for that I am so thankful.

So thankful that monster's gpas are near and can spend time with her, especially so we didn't have to find a daycare while we're working. Thank you.

Thankful that my family and friends are happy and healthy and figuring out the future :-)

What are you thankful for?

Thursday, November 15, 2012


On saturday it was beautiful outside, so i finally spent a little time in the yard.

planting, cross your fingers...


playing in the leaves
with monster

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mission Organization Laundry

Here's a goal for me in the next 10 or so days. By Thanksgiving I want to have all the laundry washed, dried, folded/hung, put away, sorted for giveaways/throwaways, and taken to the salvation army. This includes going through Monster's baby clothes for giveaways, keepers, lending, and throwing away. Think I/we can do it?? God, i hope so. This whole laundry situation has gotten completely out of control.

For Us parental-types
Step 1 -- Sort clean and dirty clothes.
Steps 2,3 -- Wash, dry, and lug clothes back upstairs.
Step 4 -- sort for giveaways, etc.
Step 5 -- fold/hang clothes
Step 6 -- put away keepers and bag up others
Step 7 -- take others out of house -- to garbage, friends, or Salvation Army.
Step 8 -- Stay on top of laundry pile.

For the monster
Step 1 -- Wash, dry, fold all clothes
Step 2 -- Sort by sizes/types (newborn girl vs neutral) and giveaways, etc
Step 3 -- Containerize by size/type
Step 4 -- Put all keepers in storage and take others out of monster's room.

When you type it all out like that, it doesn't seem too bad. I have 10 days to do this (counting today, not counting thanksgiving day). I think I can, I think I can... And get the husband to help with his clothing...

PS Anyone have a good stain remover recommendation? Baby food stains like a b*@$%.

Monday, November 5, 2012


I have the biggest interview of my life in a few hours and needless to say, I'm a bit Faa-reaked out about it. I have been preparing and thinking and compiling and asking advice and stressing out for a week. No more time. It's now I am ready or not. Though, I do have lots of great resources for interviews if needed. Probably could do a whole blog post on it... note to self.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Day in the life

It's that time again! Navigating the Mothership is doing her quarterly round up so here goes nothing!

October 22, 2012

3:25 a.m.
Wake up to husband's alarm going off. I hate Mondays.

4:15 a.m.
Wake up to crying monster. Go in, rub her back, cover her up. Go back to doze.

4:35 a.m.
Not having it. Bring monster in bed with me and drift back to sleep. yay.

5:31 a.m.
Alarm goes off. Snooze. Snooze. Snooze.

5:58-6:34 a.m.
Decide to drag myself out of bed and get dressed/ready for work. Monster sleeps in my bed. I'm jealous. Make lunch/breakfast for myself. Monster will eat at granpat's house. and COFFEE. thank god for coffee. Get monster ready to go and leave for the day.

6:35-7:00 a.m.
Drop off monster at Granpat's house. "commute" to work. Smells like pizza. Love it when the bagel shop makes these bagels, garlic ones? Wait for the elevator. Log in.

work. chat with  eat snacks. work. check email and blogs. work.

Take monster to clinic.

leave clinic. Monster falls asleep in the car. Thankgod! Leave her in her car seat at home and get supper ready to be cooked. eat a snack, doritos, apple, and peanut butter bread cuz that's how i roll.

Husband gets home. Monster wakes up and plays with her daddy for awhile. I play on my phone. Husband goes to do homework. monster falls back asleep on me. Need to get this kid to sleep in her bed! Anyone have any tips for babies who don't sleep in their beds well???

Supper for monster. Make/eat supper. Watch cat chase bugs. Solo trip to Target. bliss. so much faster alone!

Watch TV, have a treat, play with monster. Husband does homework and then puts monster to bed so I can watch my show (How I Met Your Mother). Bummed and confused when a rerun of Big Bang is on instead... is it Thursday? watch random shows and play on my phone/with cat.

Get supper ready for the crockpot for tomorrow. Get ready for bed. Read a little.

Monster cries out. Check on her. rock her and put her back to bed. Repeat many times throughout the night.

Lights out and sleep while husband does homework next to me. Cuz, I'm old.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

party planning

It all started... with a nickname. Monster. and then a theme was found. little monsters. an invitation was chosen. pastel DIY print. and a PARTY was born.

I swear, I've been planning this party since before monster was born. But really I've been working on it more diligently since August. I thought at first I would just invite our immediate families (brothers and grandparents). Then realized that half of them wouldn't be able to make it. Sad. So I branched out and invited some close friends. Still more of them wouldn't be able to make it. Finally I realized that a lot of the husband's extended family hadn't met monster yet, so we invited them. Probably about 20-25 people actually came to our party! That is a lot for our little house.

I have been having so much fun planning this party that I am almost sad that it is over. ha-ha.  And, a party is a good excuse to get my butt in gear to clean the house! Especially things like vacuuming the stairs and the upstairs hallway corners. I made all the food but ordered the cupcakes from Hy-Vee. Yum. I did not take pictures during the party, which is a bummer. We did get some of monster and her smash cake exploration and a couple of the decorations beforehand, but that's it. What a sad thing. Oh Well. It was a fun day.

I used these posts for inspiration YoungHouseLove; ItsAllHappening; and AnniesEats.

I'll hopefully find some pictures of the birthday madness to show!

Monday, October 15, 2012


Getting started on monster's birthday bash! This will be used for decorating. I plan to use it year after year for her with some streamers in her bedroom or on her bedroom door. Starting traditions :)

I ordered the book Birthday Monsters! by Sandra Boynton and will to read it to my monster for her birthday every year.

I am working hard on planning her first birthday party. I thought I wouldn't go too big but it's mostly family and close friends who are invited, we do have a lot of family. Hopefully it will be nice and everyone can hang out outside. Otherwise, I don't really know where people will sit but I am excited!
Plans in the works include cute invites from chickabug on etsy, lots of monster decorations, and cupcakes from hy-vee (love their cupcakes and frosting). Mother in law is crocheting a monster hat for monster to wear and her godmother made a tutu skirt. I can't wait. I love birthdays!!

Speaking of traditions, what birthday traditions do you and your family have? In mine, we always had a family dinner, cake, and a special birthday prayer read before supper. For our little family now we'll start our traditions with monster and as they occur, i'm sure to tell you all about them.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Monster is 1 year old

Dear monster,

You are now officially 1 year old. To say this past year hasn’t been what I expected would be correct. You are a very cute little girl, no longer really a baby, and you are usually in a very good mood. You have started smiling, laughing, and giggling with no provocation (that I can understand) and make those around you laugh/smile every time you do this. I didn’t know what to expect with having a baby, would you eat, would you sleep? Would we figure it out? Well, sometimes I feel like we have it figured out and other times I don’t. It hard to say what life will be like from one day to the next, but mostly it’s on the level.

You are learning to chew and swallow your food and getting better with each day. We still do baby food but you will take some regular table foods, like toast or bananas, as long as we give you enough time to figure it out. You will sometimes feed yourself but your pincer grasp has yet to show up. Slowly, you are learning to palm grasp foods and Granpat says you do very well You eat a lot but apparently could eat a lot more since you are very small. We switched you over to whole milk a couple of weeks ago and it has been a very good transition. You stopped liking to drink your formula during the summer but now, you grab for the bottle in order to have more milk. I think this is also going to help you bulk up. We haven't figured out sippy cups or straw cups with you yet, so we're going to stick with the bottles and open cups for a while. I hope we can all figure it out, because once you feed yourself and drink for yourself, i think we will all be a lot happier!

You grew a lot in the last couple months and you look very tall for your size. You are tall and skinny, only weighing in around 16 pounds. I hope you stay tall :-) you can wear clothing from 6-9 months all the way up to 12 months. It really just depends. Still wearing size 3 diapers and probably will be for a while since they say they go up to 28 pounds, and that is almost twice your size. 

Your development is really taking off lately. I have noticed a difference and see you get stronger with every day. You are about the stage of a 6-month-old and are reaching out for things and playing with things more and more. It's fun to watch. We work on sitting and developing the muscles in your low back and upper chest in order to get you to sit up on your own and eventually crawl. It looks like you are really working to figure this out! You love to work with Katie, Mary Jo, and Emily from Early Intervention and they are pleased with the progress you have been making.

I love you lots you little monster. I hope your 2nd year on earth is as good or better than the 1st one.


Friday, October 12, 2012

this was me...

October 12, 2011. 39 weeks and 5 days pregnant. The day I was induced. Ugh. and still 2 LOOONG days away from having an actual baby.

But now, I'm back to finish working on Monster's birthday bash... coming up soon. :-)

Monday, October 8, 2012


It's getting cooler outside and what does that mean? Soups and chili! I can't eat either one in the warm weather. It has to be cool and crisp outside for chili to sound appealing. I never liked chili growing up, because I don't like kidney beans/chili beans. My perfect chili is made with black and white beans and is very thick. Served with sour cream and cheese and cornbread on the side. Delicious.

I've never actually measured the spices I add, so I'm just giving an estimate here. Feel free to change amounts as you wish.

1 pound lean ground turkey
1 can black beans
1 can great northern beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1.5 cups spaghetti sauce
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons cumin

Brown ground turkey and season with half of the spices. Add beans, tomatoes, and sauce. Season with the rest of the spices to taste. simmer until heated through, about 20-30 minutes. Serve with sour cream and cheese on top. Add a spicy cheddar and jalapeno corn muffin on the side.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

is there a different word than random?

Feels like Halloween out today, blustery, dark, and cool. Bring on the pumpkins!!

we're doing 1-year pictures for monster on Saturday. gah! 1 year?!? How the heck did that happen? 

I like nursing/maternity tank tops – because they are long :)

Must keep singles in my drawer at work because I always want a treat and rarely do I have the cash to get one (which is probably best for my waistline and pocketbook). 

I love to read. Books let me escape to a different reality for awhile and it makes me happy. Husband has video games, I have books. 

Pumpkin spice is the flavor of this fall. I didn't really like it in the past but give me a dark chocolate pumpkin mocha from Caribou any day this year!! :) Totally amazing, especially when made by a certain lady who works there. You'd think they would all taste the same, but no, hers are definitely better. Oh, and I discovered pumpkin spice bagels yesterday.  wonderful. wonderful. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

halloween socks

In a tradition started i can't remember how many years ago, my mom gave me a pair of Halloween socks this past week. I am wearing them today in order to bring a smile while working on a Saturday.

Happy early Halloween!

Winnie cat socks

Thursday, September 27, 2012

apple crisp

Yesterday I made apple crisp.  I was going to take pictures but then I ate it too fast. All I got was this one when bragging on Instagram, and that was before the vanilla ice cream. Yum!

So here's the recipe:

4 cups sliced apples
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup butter or margarine cut into pieces
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of ginger

Preheat oven to 350*
Spray an 8x8 pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Slice apples and add to prepared pan.
Mix brown sugar, flour, oats, and spices in medium bowl.
Add butter and mix with fork (or clean hands) until crumbly.
Pour over apples, covering evenly.
Bake for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown and apples are soft (no resistance when poked with knife).

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and ENJOY!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

monster update (not in size)

*After 5 days of coughing, sneezing, stuffiness, runny nose, not eating well, or sleeping, I finally gave in and took monster to the doctor. what does she have? an upper respiratory tract infection, or in other words a fancy name for a cold. Plus, I got yelled at for her not being big enough. Have you ever tried to make a baby eat who doesn't want to eat? I don't know what more I can do. I guess 16 pounds isn't enough. Too bad. She's just going to be a small girl.

*Missed out on going to our class field trip tonight because of said cold and need for monster to sleep. Sad, we missed out on the petting zoo but monster's not really ready for that yet. Maybe in a few months...

*We started switching monster over to whole milk today. So far, same reaction as to formula. Will drink a little and then stop. Need to get this kid to drink better... maybe a straw?

epic 3 hour nap

On a completely different topic... I sometimes wonder if I would like the bloggers that I follow in real life? Some of them yes for sure, but others, I'm not really sure if I would or not. And, would they like me?

Monday, September 24, 2012

blogging break, etc

I unintentionally took a break from blogging last week. I didn't have anything to post about and I was lazy. :)

I still don't have anything to say today but need to get my presence back on the interwebs, yes? LOL.

Working a long week this week and then going to the Twins game on Sunday. Hope the weather is nice. The monster will stay with her grandparents on Saturday night. A nice little break for all of us.

We went to check out the apple place around our house. Not too exciting. I didn't have high hopes so I wasn't disappointed. We took home some really good cider, gone in a day, and an awesome caramel apple pecan pie, also gone in a day. Whoops. Monster slept the entire time we were there, so that's good. She needed the nap.

We had an impromptu date night on Friday. that was fun. Had dinner and rented a movie. Man, we're old. I had thoughts of going downtown for a few drinks and then thought about how much it would hurt the next day when monster was being all monstery... yeah. Needless to say, drinking did not happen much. I had a peach margarita with dinner. Very exciting.

Monster was sick/is sick with a cold and teething at the same time. Poor kid can't breathe. Feel bad for her.

Monday, September 17, 2012

so much for that...

My plan to do the mud run has been foiled. Apparently, they got a lot of people signed up for it and closed registration. I feel pretty stupid for not signing up early enough. I guess I just didn't think they would get as many people as they did. that. sucks.

Friday, September 14, 2012

How monster got her nickname

When I was pregnant, I didn't even notice monster's kicks and movements at first. I thought it was just gas. However, over time, as she got bigger and I got bigger, her movements got more and more noticeable. By the end of that summer, you could really tell when she was moving around or kicking. It was like she was trying to get out through my skin! Totally freaked me out, like a monster inside me or something. after she was born, there were days (and still are days to be honest) where she is crabby and nothing can help to calm her down. She acts like a monster, hence the nickname.

GranPat (my mom) always said to me, "don't call her a monster, she's not" but then one day she said, "I can see why you call her that." Ha! ha! Vindication. I guess monster isn't always on her best behavior when she's with her grandparents.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


**Meant to post this yesterday! Oops.**

Last night was our first ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education) class for the school year. We meet once a week on Tuesday evenings for an hour. The ages in the class range from 9 months to 18 months. All of the kids are pretty mobile, except for Monster. It was pretty hard to sit there and watch all the little kids, especially the ones younger than Monster, climbing around all over the place, crawling, and sitting/standing like it's no big deal. I almost teared up. It gets to me that she can't do these things yet. Will I ever get it through my head that she has developmental delays? She'll do things in her own time, not when the other babies do things? She works so hard doing what she is doing that I should just enjoy the fact that she can do things. She can roll around and scoot sort of. She can sit if placed in a sitting position but not yet get to one by herself. She almost did last night though! She can get up on her hands and knees and rock back and forth, just not quite crawling yet. Its hard to see her progress since I'm in the thick of it every day but the teachers we have been working with can definitely see her growth.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Our house...

is a very, very, very fine house...with 2 cats in the yard...

Missed the deadline for Navigating the Mothership's tour of homes but still wanted to show my house. I'm a bit too lazy to take pictures of what we have done at this point, but I promise I will.

Here's our house on our final walk through the night before we bought it, over 2 years ago.

View from the street (low angle)

We bought this house for 3 main reasons, the neighborhood, the backyard, and the garage. It is in a quiet neighborhood with good schools, even though this didn't weigh into our decision at the time, and lots of kids and families. The yard is huge, the biggest lot on the block, lots of room to play and grass to mow for the husband.

view of the back yard

This used to be an alley, now it's grass

Here's the garage and yes that's a screen door.

I liked that the house had a front porch. For some reason I always wanted a front porch. We even acted like we were on House Hunters and said we could sit out and drink our coffee on the porch in the mornings. Ha. Probably have spent a total of 2 hours total on the porch in the last 2 years. Anyway, Lets go inside shall we?

Welcome, welcome. Living room to right of front door

fireplace area to left of front door

Stairs going up to the right of the dining room
Dining room straight ahead from door

Sliding doors to backyard, in kitchen
View of kitchen, with blue carpet, from dining room

Bathroom, same blue carpet included!

So there's the main floor. Going upstairs we have 3 bedrooms and a hallway.


"guest room"

The master bedroom is humongous! Even though it feels rather small now with all our crap in it. It could easily be 2 rooms. I would love love love to add a bathroom up here and it easily could be done with the amount of space we have. We also have a large walk-in closet.
It doesn't look that wide but I can easily lay down with space on either side of me, granted I'm pretty short but it is a big closet!

To finish up, back downstairs and through the kitchen to the side door and icky stone basement. I hate this basement and would like to figure out a way to fix it, but there's a huge cistern taking up most of the room down there... what to do?
side door going into basement

from side door down to icky basement

And there you have it. Our house, in the middle of our street. Thanks for stopping by.