NYE Party @ The Roost: Top 10 Pictures from 2008

#01. This photo was taken in January – I was having him model the UMass shirt I’d bought for him (before he was born) and this shot really stood out to me – one of many ‘looking up’ shots that I’ve gotten throughout his life.

#02. Taken shortly after a bath that spring – loved the ‘tussled hair’ look! We like to call this the future blackmail shot.

#03. I love how his smile just lights up this picture (taken in early summer / late spring). He’s sitting inside a toy basket on its side.

#04. I love this shot of him doing a full belly laugh – he was doing it over and over that day and we were so psyched to get a picture of it!

#05. Taken in the fall, this Santa hat is always lying around somewhere but it looked so cute with these pajamas that I had to get a picture – we used this in our Christmas card.

#06. Taken at Santa’s Village in the White Mountains, he’s saying “slow and steady wins the race” because that’s what a turtle says, you know.

#07. I love this shot that I got while MM was playing on a new old tractor at my father’s house. That’s my father’s wife standing in the shadow and I loved the contrast of darkness and light here.

#08. A random shot of MM’s Man In The Yellow Hat costume for Halloween – I think this picture perfectly captures the essence of the costume.

#09. I took this picture during a walk through our apartment complex with MM this fall – I loved that I was able to catch the stick falling in motion but everything else in the shot was crisp and clear.

#10. One of the first pictures I took of our Christmas tree – this shot was technically an “out take” but it’s still my favorite of the bunch.

For more participants in the New Years Eve Party hosted @ The Roost just click here.

family fun

Looking Back: 2008 In Review

January 2008

Shortly after ringing in the new year we were still kind of getting used to life in our new apartment, enjoying watching MM learn new things every day and taking way too many pictures of nothing in particular. Since I wasn’t blogging yet I don’t really have any specific notes on what was going on then, but I suspect it wasn’t much.

February 2008

This month my husband bought me flowers for Valentines Day and I discovered a fun new way to preserve that memory long after the flowers died. We also bought MM his first set of ABC magnets which spurned a very fast and furious learning of the alphabet – he now knows his ABCs inside out and upside down and it’s really rather amazing.

March 2008

During a snow storm that month we made our first snowman as a family and MM had a blast helping daddy to roll snow balls. I had a blast taking photographic evidence and devouring hot chocolate afterwards.

On March 13 I started this whole blogging thing. I went from “never blogged” to “can’t stop blogging” in one fell swoop. We also bought our first pet, Freddy the Hamster in March AND dh’s coveted Nikon D40.

April 2008

MM turned 2 this month and we had a big party at the apartment with friends and family. After feeling racked with guilt for not wanting to bake a cake, I bought a Friendly’s Ice Cream Cake which was absolutely delicious and decided that whether I bake or not shouldn’t be important, as long as we all have a good time.

In April we started seriously talking about having another baby but at that point it was mostly just talking. My husband’s company also began talking about moving to another state – we’re still just talking about that one, although dh and I both wish it would happen asap.

May 2008

For Mothers Day we took my MIL and family to the nearby zoo and although we all had a fantastic time, MM still didn’t seem to actually notice any of the animals. He did notice and enjoy the orange stuffed monkey and cute sun hat that we bought him there.

I started baby sitting for a friend of mine that month a few times a week and it was certainly interesting spending so much time with someone else’s child – and letting MM learn how to interact with another young child his age.

June 2008

In June my friend had her first baby, and his complete utter cuteness really kicked me baby craving into high gear. We’d already been sort of trying for a second child, but the birth of my friend’s baby probably boosted my determination tenfold. We also took down MM’s crib finally starting him out in his first big boy bed, by putting the crib mattress right down on the carpet. He loved it and took to the whole concept right away. MM also got his FIRST hair cut this month and although I was hesitant to cut his hair which to me it seemed had just started to finally grow, he looked so cute afterwards that I was all weepy and lovey dovey and officially a big fan of the hair cut concept. That month my father also performed in a play for the first time on Fathers Day Weekend – Seussical the Musical!

That month I also participated in the It’s Real Life photo meme hosted by Jessica @ Farm Fresh, the meme that started it all for me – after that I was hooked and I now meme regularly – maybe more than I don’t meme. We bought our first GPS that month – a cute TomTom who changed the way we drove as we knew it.

July 2008

In July I stumbled across Twitter and became infatuated with it for several weeks before suddenly burning out on it entirely. I almost never use it now but for awhile I seriously couldn’t tear myself away!

August 2008

My husband and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary – he bought me Breaking Dawn and I bought him The Princess Brideon DVD. That month I started the Looking Fine by 2009 challenge @ Daily Mish Mash. I still had no idea what I was doing but I knew that I needed to lose some weight and I was hoping the ye old internet would help me find a way.

September 2008

In September we took a family vacation to the White Mountains, visiting Santa’s Village and Storyland and taking hundreds of pictures along the Kankamagus Highway. We also took MM apple picking for the first time, and I learned that I LOVE fuji apples.

That month my best friend Ange started her own blog @ Red Knows How and I was so excited introducing her to this fun new world which had flipped my life upside down. I think she’s at least half as hooked as I am now. 😉

October 2008

In October I finally convinced my husband to let me go self-hosted and we bought! Also, after the success of apple picking we decided to take MM pumpkin picking and although it wasn’t quite as successful a trip, we did get a pumpkin and some cute pictures. We’ll definitely go back next year. That Halloween MM dressed up as The Man In The Yellow Hat (a costume we made) and the whole thing was a big hit and really fun to take pictures of.

November 2008

In November I scored a much needed hair cut and bought the family a Nintendo Wii – we haven’t been the same since. We also found out in November that I was finally pregnant with Baby # 2. At the end of the month we made our first Gingerbread House, ringing in the holiday season.

That month was when my Looking Fine by 2009 progress finally started to improve as dh and I began calorie counting paired with a small amount of exercise, I finally started to see the weight drop!

December 2008

In December we had a huge ice storm followed by a very big snow storm. Hundreds of homes lost power from fallen branches and power lines – many members of my family were without power for at least one week. Luckily we were somehow spared from this and only lost our internet and cable for one weekend – nothing in comparison.

This month I learned how to make a party hat from a Trader Joe’s flier, went to my first OB appointments for the baby, took numerous pictures of the Christmas tree with varying success, and thoroughly enjoyed the Christmas holiday. I wrote more about that here.

And that, folks, was 2008. Right now it’s 2:56 p.m. and there is approximately 10 hours left until 2009 arrives. I’ve enjoyed my fill of ’08 and I’m ready to make some new memories in ’09 and share them with you along the way. Thanks to another storm it looks like we’ll very likely be staying home for the bell drop, but to those of you going out (and heck those of you staying home, too) have a safe and happy NYE tonight and sleep in late if you can!

books & reading reviews

Books Read in 2008

I read 47 books this year which is an average of 3.9 books per month. Of those 47 books only 2 books were non-fiction. I’d really like to read more non-fiction in 2009 – consider that a goal. I gave up on 4 books in 2008 – one of which was a non-fiction book. I’m still currently reading 2 books, both non-fiction.

My reading goals for 2009 are

  1. read more non-fiction – no need to go crazy as it’s clearly not a genre I prefer but more than two for sure – I think biographies will be my best bet.
  2. Since I read 47 this year I want to read at least 50 next year – I hardly think that’s too much to strive for.
  3. I’ve got about 28 books that I own but haven’t read yet (but still want to read). Heck I probably have more but those are present and accounted for. I want to read at least half of them this year.

Read in 2008:

  1. The Luxe by Anna Godbersen – Finished January 4, 2008 – VERY GOOD!! One of the best books I’ve read in awhile. Couldn’t put it down!
  2. Fablehaven 2: Rise of the Evening Star by Brendan Mull – Finished January 9, 2008 – Better than the first book, definitely building an interesting series – I’m already impatient for book 3!
  3. I, Freddy by Dietlof Reiche – Finished on January, 20, 2008 – A very cute read, that took me far too long to finish (I’ve been reading it on and off for a year).
  4. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket – Finished January 27, 2008 – So much better than I’d even expected and that’s saying quite a bit!
  5. The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket – Finished January 31, 2008 – Soooo different from the movie, much more detailed, very enjoyable.
  6. The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket – finished February 2, 2008 – Read this very quickly, loved every minute. the movie leaves so much out of these books, it was a good movie but the books are so much better.
  7. The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket – finished February 4, 2008 – Finally, a plot I didn’t know at all! Just as good as the first three, and it was lovely to be surprised at every turn. Another gem.
  8. The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket – finished February 5, 2008 – Starting to get very curious about a great number of the mysteries throughout this book. So well written. My husband finally finished book one – we are both big fans now!
  9. The Ersatz Elevator by Lemony Snicket – Finished February 6, 2008 – Couldn’t put this one down – very suspenseful or anxiety ridden perhaps? Just as good as the others.
  10. The Vile Village by Lemony Snicket – Finished February 8, 2008 – Such an interesting book, I’m even more curious now and I just realized for the first time that all the titles have a repeating pattern (BB, RR, WW, MM, AA, EE, VV and now HH)
  11. The Hostile Hospital by Lemony Snicket – Finished February 11, 2008 – Loved the whole “filing” thing, ridiculously true to life from my experience. The whole book was, again, terrific. I’m almost bored of talking about how terrific it is and what a wonderful job Snicket is doing. The whole mystery is really starting to amp itself up.
  12. The Carnivorous Carnival by Lemony Snicket – Finished February 12, 2008 – So good I am almost disappointed that it is time to start reading my book club book, instead of continuing on with the series, especially after such a MAJOR cliff hanger!
  13. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray – Finished February 20, 2008 – It was a hard adjustment going from Lemony Snicket to this book and not because it wasn’t good, but because Snicket makes the reading easy and even in scary moments you somehow feel safe with the author always warning you of things and defining anything you may not have known. Libba Bray obviously does not feel the need to do this, and once I lost myself in the story, I was grateful for an opportunity to guess and imagine and experience this beautiful novel in the corners of my own mind. It is a very good debut to her series which I look forward to reading.
  14. The Slippery Slope by Lemony Snicket – Finished February 24, 2008 – So many things I want to gossip about in this book, and all of the things that led up to it, but in an effort not to “spoil” I’ll refrain. Of course it was fantastic with lots of ground breaking developments and long awaited revelations. And of course, more questions, more cliff hangers, and more suspense. Now to start Grim Grotto. I’ve officially finished all the books I borrowed from SIL, so once dh finishes the next 3 on his stack, we’ll be able to return them! Woohoo!
  15. The Grim Grotto by Lemony Snicket- Finished February 26, 2008 – I am dangerously close to finishing this series and more than a little worried that I might go into withdrawal when I do. It’s not very often that one has the pleasure of reading such a thrilling, well-written series – with such extreme attention to details, and always cautious of its audience, it is a real pleasure to read such an impressive work. “Snicket” has created something any good author should aspire to.
  16. The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket – Finished March 6, 2008 – Only one book left to read, which should mean that a lot of mysteries will be solved soon, right? And that Snicket won’t constantly continue to create loose ends that make the story even more intriguing and infuriating at the same time? Of course I loved it.
  17. The End by Lemony Snicket – Finished March 8, 2008 – Ok, finished the series late at night, almost morning with the words “Ah ha!” Because the last word of the book confirmed the suspicion I’d held for at least the second half of the series, but I won’t go any further. My husband guessed the same as well so maybe it’s not really that big of a revelation, but it was still exciting. Still not sure when I’ll get around to reading the unauthorized autobiography or Beatrice’s Letters, and for now it’s on to other, grown-up books but I really thoroughly enjoyed this series and would recommend it to just about anyone. – full review of series here
  18. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philipa Gregory – Finished March 18, 2008 – This book was so amazingly good – better with every chapter, every added detail to this historical masterpiece. I am officially eager to read all her other works. – full review here
  19. My Hamster by Peter Fritzsche – Finished March 26, 2008 – This book was pretty good on filling a new hamster owner in on the basics, but the author is definitely a naturalist and had me scared out of my mind by the end, worrying about every different way I could cause harm to my hamster. It was very well laid out and informative otherwise.
  20. Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich – Finished March 25, 2008 – I don’t know what happened with her 12th book, but in lucky number thirteen, she manages to get back into her stride, at least as far as I’m concerned – this may have been her best Plum book to date. I love all of her current events references – the cable company charade as well as a million other things I can’t remember anymore were fantastic. It was very now, very current, very good. The Morelli / Ranger thing manages to continue without feeling stale – ah, I just can’t say enough. It was terrific. Can’t wait for fourteen!
  21. Extras by Scott Westerfeld – Finished March 30, 2008 – Just when I thought this series could not get any better, Westerfeld sucked me back in to prove me wrong! I adore his writing style, constantly find myself thinking (or talking) with his made up lingo – to put it mildly, this entire series is awe-making! 😛 It did take me a few chapters to embrace the main character, and get over Tally not being present (in the beginning), but to be honest, as much as Aya annoyed me, Tally was the same way in Uglies, and let’s face it Pretties and Specials, too. Something about being 25, trying to get back into the mindframe of a 15 year old can prove challenging I think. But I love it! I love the love stories, I love the way Westerfeld forces you to look more critically at our own society and all the ways we could be different – and all the ways those different societies could go horribly wrong, too. In short, Westerfeld is a genius and I ❤ him.
  22. The Virgin’s Lover by Philipa Gregory – Finished April 7, 2008 – While it was nowhere near as good as The Other Boelyn Girl, it did begin to capture my interest somewhere in the middle, much the same. The ending definitely surprised me, although I had suspected parts of it, and was left wondering a LOT and wishing I knew more of the history of this time period.
  23. So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld – Finished April 8, 2008 – This was soooo good – Westerfeld is truly a genius in his field – and unlike the Uglies series, this one is easily enjoyable by guys and gals alike – stepping back from “the whole world” this book focuses on marketing, consumerism and the elusive “cool” – and of course a bit of kissing thrown in for good fun. It definitely kept me guessing, proving that some authors at least are smarter than their readers (that’s a big compliment – I get so annoyed sometimes when I am always one leap ahead – sometimes it can be fun being smarter than the characters, but sometimes it’s painfully obvious and dull).  I just attempted to read the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson and it was such a miserable flop that I gave up, so this book was warmly welcomed and devoured in less than 24 hours.
  24. Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce – Finished April 16, 2008 – Another really good book – I’ve been hitting the jackpot lately. Despite a few strange things to get used to in this young adult fantasy book, I really liked this story, with illusions to Tudor England and a small bit of romance, there was little left to be desired. I’ll definitely be reading the rest of the series.
  25. Trickster’s Queen by Tamora Pierce – Finished April 27, 2008 – Just as good as the first book – it seemed to take forever to read, if only because of all the information to digest within each chapter – but I really did like it a lot! The world she creates is just amazing and the story is a GOOD one!
  26. Masquerade by Melissa De La Cruz – Finished April 30, 2008 – Clearly, having gobbled up this book in three short days, I liked it a lot – this is a very promising new series and I’m not very happy to have to wait for the next installment to come out before learning more about this intriguing historical mystery – who was who when and who will they all be now? It’s exhilarating – and of course the romance had me glued to the edge of my seat. Fantastic.
  27. Rebel Angels by Libba Bray – Finished May 6, 2008 – This second installment was fantastic even if I did guess some major things awfully early on (and I didn’t want to be right, but I was). This book still amazes me in a lot of ways and it really is a terrific inspiring book for young women – it really shows you how privileged women are today and yet how some things are terribly the same. Which is I’m sure what she’s going for.
  28. Forever Lily by Beth Nonte Russell – Finished May 20, 2008 – It took me awhile to finish this but not because I couldn’t get into it, but rather it’s just a very intense book that I had to read in small chunks without overwhelming myself. It was beautifully written, such an amazing story that I am still a bit surprised at its non-fiction label – I’m not sure I buy into the whole past lives thing but it’s a deeply fascinating idea to me. I was especially moved by the scenes in the Chinese Orphanages – this book made me want to go out and adopt several Chinese daughters, just to play my part. 😛
  29. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde – Finished June 9, 2008 – This book was just fantastic in so many ways – the English major in me drooled and laughed my way through the entire book. It took me awhile to read it, just because the plot was a bit complicated – Fforde creates his own world within the confines of this great book, and it took me awhile to get used to the swing of things, but now I’m eagerly awaiting the next book in this series!
  30. Jane Austen in Scarsdale by Paula Marantz Cohen – finished June 19, 2008 – I’m kind of torn between 3 stars and 4 on this one. I did like it, and by the end I more than liked it, but it wasn’t one of those amazing books you just can’t put  down, so much as a book that grew better with age and really started to get REALLY good the more I read. The last 10 chapters were devoured in one afternoon. I think I’d read another of her books, but it certainly won’t take precedent. As far as light reading goes, however, it was exceptional.
  31. The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray – Finished July 2, 2008 – This book broke my heart – which is not to say I didn’t like it, I loved it – I loved being wrong over and over and right over and over, I loved the small details thrown in to make me say, “Ah ha. I never thought of that.” A small part of me hates, hates, hates the ending and you will know what I mean, but I’ll accept it. It was brilliantly written. – full review here
  32. Boy Meets Girl by Meg Cabot – Finished July 6, 2008 – Took awhile to get used to the “email” format of the book, but the story was a good one – very intriguing – I enjoyed it a lot.
  33. Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz – Finished July 15, 2008 – ::sigh:: I loved this a little too much – I read it a few pages at a time for what felt like forever and then devoured the last 3rd of the book in one giant day-long gulp-fest. I really hope this wasn’t the last installment, because Lisa Lutz, I’m here to tell you I need MORE. – full review here
  34. Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich – Finished July 24, 2008 – Another Evanovich masterpiece – I think this one was even better than the last, with all the usual great antics and some new antics you never even thought to expect. Brilliant.
  35. Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde – Finished August 18, 2008 – This was the sequel to the Eyre Affair and definitely just as good – one of those books with a little bit of everything and more than a few surprises thrown in.
  36. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – Finished August 28, 2008 – The first half of this book bordered on dreadfully boring, the language seemed unnecessarily stale and verbose. I thought for quite some time I’d have to force myself to finish it. But then somewhere in the middle I fell in love and now even as I type this, I think I’ve been reading classic literature long enough because it is surely affecting my writing style. I plan to read Jane Eyre next and I’m looking forward to it, but first I have plans to read some more modern literature and hopefully my writing style will go back to normal. 🙂 In the end, I did like P&P a lot – and I’m not sure if my initial dislike of the book was the author’s fault or my own. Indeed, I may have been prejudiced against the book because of it’s “classic” style – and maybe too proud to admit my own shortcomings that were preventing me from liking it? But then ended up so in love with the book that you might equate the whole transition to Lizzy’s feelings towards Mr. Darcy. At first the book seemed unnecessarily dry and proud and boring – but by the end it was surely the warmest, most involved book I’ve read in awhile. I’m quite fancying myself in love with it. I might marry it. My family will be quite shocked, I’m sure. – full review here
  37. Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce – Finished September 10, 2008 – This was another one of those books where the first half took forever (months) to read and the second half was finished in days. I’m hooked now though and definitely planning to read at least the rest of the books in the Alanna series.
  38. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer – Finished September 25, 2008 – This book was an amazing end for such a brilliant series. I felt like I could see some things coming from a mile away and had so much fun with my speculations but other things took me completely by surprise. I cannot for the life of me understand other people’s angst with this book. It was wonderful. – full review here
  39. The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde – Finished October 25, 2008 – Another home run for Jasper Fforde. I really really enjoyed this book, like it may be my favorite in the series so far. I loved all the literary references and the whole world he creates for literature. Mr Fforde, I am officially in awe of you. – full review here
  40. In The Hand of The Goddess by Tamora Pierce – Finished October 28, 2008 – I devoured this book. It’s a quick read but very addictive, especially now that I know the whole back story, having read the first book in the series, Alanna: The First Adventure awhile back. This book moves quickly but is packed with action. I will definitely be reading the third book soon.
  41. The Woman Who Rides Like A Man by Tamora Pierce – Finished October 30, 2008 – SO good. Clearly, since I again devoured this book. I’m really looking forward to reading the last in this quartet and considering reading a LOT of her other works now. But you know, get in line.
  42. Rumors by Anna Godbersen – Finished November 7, 2008 – Possibly better than the first, but it’s been awhile so that’s hard to say. I had a really hard time putting this book down once I got into the thick of it. Her newest book in the series, Envy, comes out in January of 2009 and you know I’ll be wanting to read that!
  43. Harvesting the Heart by Jodi Picoult – Finished November 26, 2008 – This book was an incredible experience – Picoult is such a gifted writer, I couldn’t help but be in awe of her and loved the intricacies of this story – each piece woven into the next. Brilliant.
  44. Death: A Life by George Pendle – Finished December 4, 2008 – While I didn’t love this book, I did enjoy it – it was funny and well written and gave a very interesting perspective of life and death and all that other stuff in between.
  45. Boomtown by Nowen N. Particular – Finished December 13, 2008 – This story had the potential to be amazing – so many genius anecdotes and tales – but it fell flat and made it very hard to want to continue reading. – full review here
  46. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart – Finished December 20, 2008 – This book combines everything which is great about the Harry Potter series and Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events, but still manages to be it’s own entity – a fresh, exciting new plot that keeps you guessing, with a new memorable set of characters that children will be able to relate to and cheer on. – full review here
  47. The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis – Finished December 27, 2008 – I’m officially smitten with C.S. Lewis and the Narnia series. The writing style was wonderful and the story incredible. I loved reading about the creation of Narnia and all that comes before the lion, the witch and the wardrobe. – full review here

Gave Up On in 2008:

  • Maximum Ride series by James Patterson
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • Redwall by Brian Jaques
  • Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick

Still Reading As 2009 Approaches:

  • Home: A Memoir of My Early Years by Julie Andrews
  • The No-Cry Potty Training Solution by Elizabeth Pantley
books & reading reviews

Review: The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis

Which Chronicles of Narnia Character are you?
Susan Pevensie

Susan Pevensie
You are Susan. Very practical and no-nonsense, though you can become less so with persuasion. Incredibly smart, you like to boast your smarts sometimes and others get annoyed. Inside though, you are just a carefree girl who wants so much to get away from the responsibilities you have grown so accustomed to and the mother role you have sort of taken on.

I’ve finally decided to set about reading The Chronicles of Narnia. I’ve thought of reading this series on and off for years since seeing the original movie as a child, then seeing the new Narnia movies in recent years. When my husband also expressed an interest in reading them I decided now was the time. Using some handy gift cards that we received at Christmas this year I picked up a box set of the paperbacks at our local Borders. Last week I read The Magician’s Nephew, which was originally the 6th book written in the series, but as it tells the story of the creation of Narnia and all that comes before The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe it has since become considered the first book.

I was very happy to find that the hype of Narnia is well deserved. Apart from being an amazing story (on an even larger scale than you could know from having just seen TLTWATW) it is amazingly well written. Lewis’s writing style is flawless and reading this book was a delight. I loved that the story could be so timeless and not feel antiquated reading it sixty years after it was written – possibly because even when he wrote it, he set the story before the 1950s, saying quite plainly that it took place long before you. So it’s always been a story of before, quite fitting I think especially for a story that takes begins before Narnia even exists.

I don’t want to go into too much detail, because I really enjoyed reading it with no expectations of what it would be – just opening the book to find out for myself was thrilling and I was very pleased with what I found. So if you haven’t read this series yet, take a chance, it’s GOOD. I am anxiously looking forward to reading Book 2 (formerly Book 1) The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe.

Grade: A++

books & reading memes & carnivals

Teaser Tuesday: Home by Julie Andrews


TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

My Tuesday Teaser is:

Little by little I began to join their act more often – not every night, but when it was convenient, and gradually I became aware of what it felt like to be behind the footlights looking out into the black auditorium with the spotlight on me. I rather enjoyed it.

from Home: A Memoir Of My Early Years by Julie Andrews

dieting & exercise

Looking Fine by 2009: The End

Well 2009 is days away and this Monday was the final check in day for the Looking Fine by 2009 challenge hosted by Jen @ Daily Mish Mash. When I started this challenge I was 223 pounds and really had no idea what I was doing, how I was going to lose weight, or how long it would take me – all I really knew was that I was tired of this – tired of looking like this and doing absolutely nothing about it. I knew I wanted something to change.

It was a long road, and I can’t say that I’ve lost a ton of weight and look incredible – this morning I weighed in at 216, up half a pound from last week actually – but at 7 pounds lighter, I can say that the journey has been worth it, because I do have a plan now – I do know what I’m doing more or less and I can see the future in sight. There will be stumbles, I’m sure, especially because at the tail end of November I found out I was pregnant (hurray!) and a couple weeks ago I was advised by my doctor to start taking in an extra 300 calories.

The name of my game for losing weight has become calorie counting and I was eating 1750 calories a day and for a few weeks I was losing weight easily and it was awesome and I was pumped. But I really did need the extra calories to keep me going so I can’t complain. Apart from this past week I still continued to lose weight – and really this past weekend I kind of briefly threw in the towel to enjoy the holidays and relax – so only gaining half a pound is pretty impressive I think. Now Christmas is over and I’m getting back on track and while I don’t think I’ll do better than losing half a pound a week, I can accept that because, dude, I’m having a baby.

Just before my first trimester symptoms really started to sink in I even found a work out that I really love – Leslie Sansone’s Walk Away The Pounds DVD proved to be incredible in my eyes – which is really saying something because I tried and hated a lot of dvds before finding this one. Now the fatigue has set in and the slightly brisk pace of Sansone’s system is really a bit much for me – but I know that when this fatigue lets up that I’ll be eagerly looking forward to getting back to walking at home when the weather is too frightful to walk outside – and thanks to my bestie Ange @ Red Knows How – I can do that ASAP because she bought me one of the DVDs for my birthday! Thanks bestie!

Come 2009 I may not be looking as fine as I’d hoped, but I will be feeling fine because I have a plan and I have the patience to wait for it while I wait for my baby also. I will be seven pounds lighter and my conscience will be lighter because I know I’m trying to make a change – and really that’s all that matters. 2009 isn’t the end of this journey for me – if anything, it is only the beginning and I’m looking forward to that journey with all my heart.

So I’d like to thank Jen @ Daily Mish Mash for inspiring me with this challenge. I’d like to thank my bestie Ange @ Red Knows How for turning me onto the Walk Away The Pounds exercise DVDs. I’d like to thank my husband for encouraging me on this diet and for talking me into trying this calorie counting thing – sometimes it’s a pain in the butt – but it’s undeniably worth it. Lastly, I’d like to thank you – all my readers who have been cheering me on from the beginning, even when I maybe didn’t deserve it yet – this community is an inspiring way of finding the motivation to be the persons we want to be and I’m not sure I could have done it without you. Thank you.

family fun

Christmas 2008: Wrap Up

I only took pictures of Christmas morning, making the executive decision to enjoy the rest of the day without lugging around the D40. So here are some shots of the morning and a few of the presents he got first thing, but there was much, much more later as we went from our apartment that morning to four other locations, and didn’t get home until about 10pm – which doesn’t sound late except that MM’s bedtime is way closer to 7pm. He did soooo good – I think his poor prego momma was more tired and cranky about being up late than he was! Anyway, enough blabbering, here are some pictures, first of the tree, stockings, etc. before they were ripped into – the calm before the storm…

And now, the loot…

Okay and now for some more blabbering on. He got the puzzle set (with a storage box) and the train set from my parents. The Mr. Potato Head came from dh’s aunt and MM has been infatuated with it ever since, when he’s not busy building train tracks or taking all the puzzles apart, Mr. P is pretty much the best thing ever. Dh’s parents also got him a bunch of cool kitcheny gadgets like a toy microwave, blender, lots of toy foods – and also a washing machine. His granny got MM a little toy loaf pan, rolling pin & a spring form pan which is kind of a family joke, and I was a little jealous that my two year old son got one and I didn’t (but being a toy, I’m not going to take the chance and find out if it’s safe to actually cook with – I’ll just keep dreaming.

Matchbox monster trucks, new pajamas and a new outfit, a barrel of monkeys, some new movies and books – wooden blocks with ABCs – and a new BED came the next day – a big twin bed since the crib mattress will be needed this summer – we figured we’d get him used to the new bed before the baby comes and steals his old one right out from under him. Which means new sheets and blankets which are all really cute – I need to remember to take pictures of that, huh? And I’m sure he got more but that’s all I can remember right now.

We got some gift cards which we used to get some new Wii video games (Call of Duty for dh, Animal Crossing for me), a couple new books, the electronic World Edition of Monopoly, and Across the Universe on DVD. My sister-in-law made me an awesome winter hat that I’m smitten with and wearing everywhere. We bought ourselves loads of chocolate and a box of clementines (can I call that a Christmas present or was that really just grocery shopping?). My in-laws got me a Christmas Memories scrap book which looks fun, but I haven’t had a chance to dig into it yet. DH got the new Trans Siberian Orchestra CD. Um and I’m a terrible Christmas present receiver and can’t think of anything else right now except that my bestie bought me the Leslie Sansone Walk Away The Pounds DVD that comes with the nifty stretchy band which I am oh so excited about!

We almost bought the Wii Fit but like morons we didn’t – big purchases scare me and we’re trying to save up moolah for the baby (not to mention the hospital stay to have the baby). I found the perfect point and shoot camera for me (I think) which I’m hoping to get for Christmas next year – I also played with a Canon Rebel in the store and was drooling over it and making a lot of ooohing and ahhhing sounds, but kept coming back to the fact that we have a Nikon D40 and don’t really need a Rebel also – what we really need is a good, sturdy little point and shoot that can fit in our pocket and be brought with us anywhere – so I’ll take more pictures at family functions because my old Canon is just starting to feel too slow and the picture quality leaves something to be desired (possibly more so with the D40 constantly showing it up) – what we need (or okay, what I want) is this Canon Powershot SD1100IS which is tiny and perfect and pretty and should be mine (hopefully by next Christmas if baby stuff goes well – and dh can save up for his laptop by then because I promised him he’d get his new laptop before I got my camera, blah blah blah stupid promises).

So, all in all, I’d say it was the perfect small Christmas – we got just enough, especially since we hadn’t gone into it wanting much. We enjoyed the season but were more than happy to take down the tree last night and get back to life as usual – until New Years Eve anyway. MM is happy as a clam and officially totally digging this Christmas thing – I know we’ll both be looking forward to Christmas 2009. And next Christmas I will finally have one good thing worth asking for!


Bump Report: Week Ten

pregnancy cartoon

10 Weeks and Counting – cartoon from

I actually went to look for maternity pants today because the cloth belly band sounded heavenly, but the ones they had were actually too small – I’d gone to Kohl’s because I had a gift card and apparently they don’t make maternity clothes for non-skinny people – because only skinny people get pregnant or something. Not sure where I’ll try next but I decided I’d felt unnecessarily fat enough for one day and called it quits for now.

Anyway, right now Baby Blueberry (BB) is roughly the size of a kumquat, which is a really funny word that I’ve enjoyed saying all day since I read it on‘s Your Pregnancy This Week newsletter. BB is a little over an inch or so long for those who have no idea what a kumquat is or how big they are. He or She has completed the most critical portion of its development. If you could take a peek inside my womb you’d see little details like tiny fingernails forming and peach-fuzz hair beginning to grow on BB’s skin. Their limbs can bend now and their hands are flexed at the wrist and meet over their heart – their feet may be long enough to meet in the front of their body. Okay now for the kumquat picture I know you’ve all been waiting for!

Next week I should get to finally hear BB’s heartbeat at my prenatal appointment and a week or so after that I’ll be getting my first ultrasound along with some bloodwork for testing for any awful disease the doctors can dream up. But that’s okay – because all I’m hearing is heart beat blah blah blah ultrasound. And that’s very exciting. My morning sickness is still all sorts of there but most mornings I can kind of tame it by things like not drinking juice or eating sweet foods in the morning (which is sucky, but it’s better than awful horrible morning sickness, as opposed to you know the run of the mill less terrible kind). Today I had tea and toast with butter and although it was bland and boring and whatever, it did yield pretty decent results comparitively. So you know, there’s that.

Still super tired and all that fun stuff, but not much different from last week – but now I get to say kumquat a lot, which is pretty terrific. That’s all for now folks – I’ll be back next week, hopefully with all sorts of ohhing and ahhhing over BB’s perfect heart beat.

family fun

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!77

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays from & Family!

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