Today is my 30th birthday.

Happy Birthday to me!

To be honest, up until today, I’ve kinda been having a hard time with the idea of turning 30. I really can’t explain why, either, as I’m usually not that vain. I think our culture is way too obsessed with everything young: being young, looking young (need I remind you of Joan Rivers?), staying young, acting young, etc. It’s a disturbing trend. I resent the fact that at 30 I’m supposed to be using anti-aging products already, as it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find skin-care products that don’t supposedly fight some sign of aging (as if aging is something we can fight with creams and cleansers). I’ve always wondered what’s wrong with looking, acting, and being the age you are? So, it came as quite a surprise when I realized I was having a difficult time staring down the barrel of 30. However, when I woke up this morning and realized that I was, in fact, now 30, I also realized there’s nothing I can do about it. Pouting, whining, and crying aren’t going to turn back the clock, so, as my ever-wise mother suggested, I’m going to focus on the positive instead of pontificating about the loss of my youth (just for the record, I’ve been looking for a reason to use the word “pontificating” lately — so glad I finally found one!). So, here are 3o reasons I’m done freaking out about being 30.

  1. I AM 30. Nothing’s going to change that, so I might as well just deal.
  2. I’ve accomplished quite a bit in 30 years. Things like:
  3. I’ve been married to the awesome Hubs for almost 5 years. Woot woot.
  4. I have two gorgeous kiddos (a boy and a girl, even).
  5. I have great parents, who have always supported me (and continue to do so) no matter what.
  6. I have a Bachelor’s degree in English.
  7. I have a Master’s degree in English.
  8. I have a job I love (most of the time).
  9. I have a nice house, which is well on its way to NOT being That ’70s House anymore.
  10. I have awesome friends, most of whom have survived turning 3o themselves. It can’t be that bad.
  11. According to my mom, I look like I’m 18. I realized she may be biased, but I’ll take it.
  12. With age comes wisdom, right?
  13. Perhaps I’ll have more authority over my students now. Highly doubtful, but I can dream.
  14. I’ve accomplished the one major goal I wanted to accomplish before I hit 30: I’m done having children!
  15. 30 isn’t old. I know that.
  16. Hopefully my 30s will hold better birthdays than my 20s.
  17. Hopefully my 30s will hold better travels than my 20s.
  18. Although I could stand to lose a few pounds (whoever said nursing was the key to postpartum weight loss is a big fat liar), I’m healthy.
  19. Thanks to the awesome Hubs, I have a brand-new Wii Fit to try out!
  20. Speaking of the Hubs, I’m still not as old as he is.
  21. 30 is the new 20, so it’s kinda like I haven’t aged at all!
  22. I only have one gray hair, and I think it’s kinda cool.
  23. I can now comfortably say, “Kids today” and shake my head disapprovingly.
  24. I can lament about my youth, all while listening to bands of said youth like Nirvana and Pearl Jam.
  25. I no longer have to pretend to understand certain aspects of pop culture, such as Lady Gaga songs and Seth Rogen comedies.
  26. When my mom turned 30, I was 13 and my sister was 8. I don’t know if that should make me feel better or worse, but it is certainly weird to think about.
  27. Speaking of my mom, she’s only in her 40s. How many 30 year-olds can say that?
  28. I don’t really have any wrinkles yet, so take that anti-aging products!
  29. My boobs have gotten progressively bigger as I’ve gotten older, although I’m sure that’s more to do with having two kids than anything else.
  30. Although I’ve already accomplished quite a bit, I still have much more that I’d like to do!

So there you have it. After spending the last few months dreading the big 30, it’s nice to be able to look at the positives and realize that, no matter how old I am, I’m pretty awesome!

Here’s to hoping the next decade of my life will bring me even more success, health, and happiness than the last. Given that my 20s gave me my great husband and fabulous kiddos, that’s a lot to live up to!

Thirties, here I come!


In order to encourage me to post at least once a week (as per my 101 in 1oo1), I’ve decided to have a weekly post of randomness. Translation: All my week’s worth of craziness in once place – one post, even. So here it is. Please keep in mind that I’m slightly crazy, although I prefer the term “eccentric.” It just sounds better, like what a good English teacher should be. Whatever. Don’t judge. Just go with it.

Boys eat a lot. A lot more than girls, in fact. I’m pretty sure that my six month-old boy can eat more than my three year-old girl.

I spend way too much time reading food blogs. Enough said.

It is possible to get “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” stuck in your head, despite the fact that it’s February.

Getting new carpet has brought out my paranoid tendencies. Just the sight of the dogs sniffing the carpet is enough to make me anxious.

Three year-olds and dogs that don’t belong to them don’t mix.

Working from home is MUCH more difficult than it seems.

I love Star Trek (all series).  Star Trek rights all the wrongs in the world.

I also love bacon. It goes pretty far to righting wrongs, too.

And now, to bed.


Thanks to my recent discovery of websites like foodgawker and tastespotting, I’ve been reading a lot of food blogs lately. Before I had kids (you know, when I actually had time to watch something other than Dora or Max & Ruby) I watched a lot of food network…and I’ve always wondered: where are all the picky eaters on these shows and behind these blogs? Perhaps picky eaters just don’t become chefs or food bloggers, but come on. Even Bobby Flay has to have a food or two he doesn’t like. Right? Now, I by no means consider myself a picky eater (unlike the Hubs, who won’t eat ANY fruit because “it’s a texture thing.” Apparently all fruit has the same texture, but I digress.), but there are foods that I just don’t care about, don’t like, or won’t even try (yes, there are foods I won’t even try. More on that later). Many of the recipes I come across seem to contain weird ingredients, bizarre descriptions, or unappealing photos. For example, if I’m looking for a dessert recipe, I don’t want to see “healthy” in the title. Sorry, but I don’t want my dessert to be healthy, unless I’m eating fruit, which doesn’t even qualify as a dessert in my world. I don’t want applesauce in my brownies, eggwhites only in my cookies, or whole-wheat flour in my cake. If I’m gonna have dessert, I’m gonna have dessert.

Now, as I said, I don’t think I’m a picky eater, but there are just some foods that I just don’t like. Tomatoes top the list, followed by things like bleu cheese, Caesar dressing, lima beans, kidney beans, spinach (unless it’s chopped nice and fine and doused in ranch dressing…because, well, anything is good if it’s doused in ranch), salmon, beets, and blueberries. A blueberry and yogurt parfait was the last thing I ate before a nasty bout of the stomach flu a few years ago, and I haven’t been able to so much as look at a blueberry since…besides, I’m not sure that food should be blue in the first place. Oh, and I’m also not a fan of processed meats; I don’t like sausage, pepperoni, salami, pastrami, bologna, etc. Naturally, bacon is the exception to this, because, well, bacon is just perfect. If it wasn’t six dollars a pound and loaded with bad fat, I’d probably eat bacon every day. Yum.

Moving beyond foods I don’t like are the foods that I just don’t care about. They’re foods I’ll eat, but I wouldn’t necessarily seek them out. In this category are foods like asparagus, artichokes, cabbage, shrimp, grapes (excluding the occasional grape craving), peas, apricots, nectarines, and tiramisu (okay, so that’s not an individual food, but I still wouldn’t order it at a restaurant or make it at home). These foods fall into the “Meh…they’re okay” category. Except for maybe peas, which are dangerously close to belonging to the list of foods I just don’t like. In fact, if the Hubs and the kiddos didn’t like peas, I’m quite certain I’d never make them. The things we do for love.

Finally, we have foods that, for various reasons, I won’t even try. Foods like saurkraut and lutefisk fall into this category, mainly because of the smell. I also won’t try liver, chicken gizzards, calf tongue, or any other food involved in an animal’s digestion. Nothing grosses me out more than the prospect of eating liver – the organ responsible for processing bile and detoxifying the body. GROSS. Plain and simple.

I also won’t try brussels sprouts, calamari, oysters, anchovies, and anything encased in an animal’s intestine (see sausage above). I won’t eat veal or lamb (although I have tried each) because, as a mother, I have a huge problem eating baby animals. That and, well, sheep freak me out. So I’m certainly not going to eat them. I also don’t wear wool either. It makes me itch just thinking about it.

Although that sounds like a lot of food I don’t like, don’t care about, or won’t even try, I don’t really think it’s that much. Besides, there are just as many foods that I like, love, and can’t live without. For example, I like almost all fruit with only a few exceptions (see blueberries above), I love Indian food, I can’t live without ice cream or bacon. I think boneless, skinless chicken thighs are quite possibly the greatest food ever, and I’d put BBQ sauce on almost anything.

My point here, I think, is that I’m always amazed at the different tastes people have. My BFF Courtney hates mushrooms; I love them. At the same time, I hate tomatoes; she loves them. The Hubs won’t eat fruit; I think he’s crazy for it. He likes refried beans, I think they look like something one of our dogs regurgitated and therefore I won’t eat them. Although I don’t intend this blog to be a food blog, perhaps I’ll have to write about some of the recipes I make frequently, recipes that, I think, would satisfy the picky eater in everyone.

Now that my 40 year-old shag orange carpet has finally been replaced (yay!!), my new nemesis (because one should always have a nemesis) is vegetables. It’s not that I don’t like vegetables (with certain exceptions, of course), because I do. For some reason, though, I have a hard time incorporating them into my diet. Oh sure, I always (okay, almost always) make a vegetable with dinner, but one serving of green beans or corn per day is hardly sufficient for a healthy diet. Part of the problem is that the Hubs only likes certain vegetables. And he only likes them cooked. I think he’d rather gnaw his own arm off than eat raw carrots (and don’t even mention celery in his presence). So, when I buy veggies, it’s up to me and the three year-old to eat them all. Well, you can imagine how that works out. So basically, it’s up to me to eat them all (on the plus side, Little Dude is set to start solid foods next month, and since I make all my own baby food, I’ll be buying more veggies for sure). If vegetables lasted a bit longer, that wouldn’t be a problem. But lettuce only lasts a couple days (sometimes if even that) before it starts turning brown, so more often than not, I end up tossing a half a bag of lettuce or a half a bag of baby carrots in the trash because I just can’t eat them fast enough. Sure, I could go to the store every couple of days to buy fresh produce, but I don’t even like going to the store once a week, so going every couple of days seems like way too much work. I don’t really like most canned veggies, except for corn, so that’s out. I buy a lot of frozen veggies: broccoli, green beans, peas, carrots, etc., so I simply just need to work on making them more frequently. I could eat salads every day (poppy-seed dressing, anyone?), but as already mentioned, lettuce just doesn’t last (too bad there’s no such thing as frozen lettuce!). I wonder if those green produce bags actually work? Perhaps I’ll have to try some and write a review…


So I have a few more goals I’d like to add to my 101. At first I thought it would be hard to come up with 101 goals, but once I sat down to do it, I found it rather easy. So easy that I’ve since come up with a few more that for one reason or another (I probably just forgot about them) didn’t make my original list. Without further ado, here they are.

Grow my hair back out

I recently cut off most of my hair. I’d been feeling kinda frumpy and totally not put together since Ben was born in August, so I thought I’d get my hair cut to at least help me look more put together, even if I didn’t feel that way. While the cut is certainly cute and it does make me feel more put together, I don’t like it. I’ve had short hair almost all my life, but in the short span of three-ish years, I got used to long hair. I got used to feeling it cascade over my shoulders and down my back; I got used to putting mousse in it and letting it air dry. Now if I want it to actually look decent, I have to blow dry and flat-iron it. I certainly don’t have time for that shit everyday, so back to long hair I go. Besides, I’ve had numerous people, the Hubs included, tell me I look better with long hair. Although this certainly appeals to my vanity, cutting my hair has taught me that I prefer me with long hair, so long hair I shall have.

Buy more pajamas…for myself

I’m slightly obsessed with buying pajamas for my kids. If you looked in their closets, you’d probably ask me why on Earth they have so many pairs of pajamas – I’d bet they each probably have enough pairs to last 10-14 days before doing laundry. I, however, wear the same ratty old shorts and tank top to bed every night. I wash them once a week. If that’s gross to you, sorry. I also use the same towel all week, too. Hey, they’re my germs, if I want to marinate in them, that’s my business. Anyway, I always look longingly at the pajama section of the Victoria’s Secret catalog, wishing I had such cute jammies (or maybe I’m just wishing I looked like the cute girls modeling the jammies, who knows for sure), yet I never buy any. I get very hot when I sleep, so I think that’s why I never buy new pajamas – all I do is sweat in them, why buy nice ones? Well, screw that. I vow to buy nice, cute jammies for myself in the next 1001 days. I might not wear them to bed, but damn it, I will have them.

Get more organized

I’ll admit: I’m not the most organized person. I envy friends who have uber-clean houses, spend their free time scrapbooking, and seemingly have it all together. I used to be like that, and then I had Ben in August and I’ve been trying to find where I left my brain ever since. It took me several hours yesterday just to clean off my desk and I didn’t even finish. I haven’t updated Ben’s baby book since he was two weeks old, and I still haven’t ordered prints from our San Diego vacation…that the Hubs and I took in 2009. Seriously. I suck at organizing. I suck at time management (I put that here because the two are intricately related). I need to improve my organizational skills so that I can actually find things when I need them. So I can pay bills on time (which I’m usually pretty good at, despite my poor organization). So I can not feel like I’m losing my mind…all. the. time. I’m going to start with some kind of shoe organizer for our back door. Right now, our shoes are all piled back there like towels on a locker room floor, creating a treacherous landing at the top of our basement stairs. I’m just waiting for the day when I mis-step on a random shoe and go careening down the stairs, carseat in arm and all.

Reconnect with my dogs

Here’s a confession: I haven’t been a big fan of my dogs lately. The pee on the carpet, bark a lot, and Keiko has bitten Alex a few times (nothing serious). I realized the other day that all of this is my (our, I suppose, as the Hubs is in on this too) fault. Since the kiddos came along, the dogs have pretty much taken a back seat. What’s that line from “Lady and the Tramp”? “When a baby moves in, a dog moves out.” Well, that pretty much sums it up. We originally got Hoshi as our wedding present; instead of buying each other gifts, we bought a dog. We got Keiko about seven months later, as Beagles are big pack dogs, more so than other breeds, and we thought Hoshi would enjoy the company of another dog. We spoiled them rotten (and still do, really) and they were the center of our lives. Fast forward to now. With two kids three and under, I find myself having less and less patience with the dogs, seeing them as something else I have to clean up after. I don’t like that I feel this way. I love my dogs, I really do. I want to reconnect with them, to see them as loving, faithful members of our family, not just barking nuisances. I think they need more exercise. I think a few walks a week would do them (and me) a world of good. I’ve seen enough episodes of “The Dog Whisperer” to know that dogs need exercise to be happy and fulfilled. Well, I can’t remember the last time we walked our dogs. No wonder why Hoshi weighs 52 pounds (yes, I have a 52 pound Beagle. *Sigh*). So, one of my 101 is to walk them 2-3 times a week (more would be nice, but that won’t happen until daylight savings and it’s not dark at 5 in the afternoon). But walking them is only part of the equation. I want to play with them, snuggle with them, pet them. Perhaps if Alex sees us interacting in a positive way with the dogs, she’ll start to do the same.

So, there you have it. A few more goals to add to the list. I’m quite sure I’ll come up with more, as my mind seems to be really thinking about this a lot lately (must be the time of year). For now, it’s time for bed.

101 in 1001

Thanks to my BFF Courtney, I’ve decided to do a 101 in 1001, which is basically 101 goals to accomplish over the next 1001 days (roughly 2.75 years). Because I’m lazy and don’t want to do the math, and because I like nice, round numbers, I’ve decided to give myself three years to accomplish these goals. Is that cheating? Perhaps, but as Seven of Nine once astutely observed, “Cheating is often more efficient.”

So, these are the aspects of my life I’d like to focus on and the things I’d like to do by January 15, 2014 (I’m not “starting” until January 15, 2011, since Courtney just told me about this yesterday (again, cheating, but whatev). I’ll update regularly (one of my goals) about my progress (or lack thereof), as I’m hoping that will help me meet these goals. This also coincides with my upcoming (gulp) 30th birthday, and I’ve been thinking lately that I’d like my 30’s to be more healthy and more focused than my 20’s. Writing down goals and aspirations seems like a pretty decent way to kick off my 30th year, so here it is. These are in no particular order; if I’m feeling outgoing once I’m done, I might organize them by theme, but I’m not holding my breath.

  1. Drink 64 ounces of water a day
  2. Eat at least 2 serving of veggies a day
  3. Make salads for dinner twice a month
  4. Make fish for dinner twice a month
  5. Bake something twice a month
  6. Limit fast food to twice a month
  7. Let Aaron cook more (of course, more implies that I let him cook at all)
  8. Let Alex (or Ben when he’s older) “help” with dinner once a week
  9. Incorporate leftovers into one meal a week
  10. Spend less on groceries
  11. Buy local produce from the farmers’ market when in season
  12. Eat one piece of fruit per day
  13. Eat one meal a week consisting only of fruits and veggies (or at least no meat)
  14. Eat less red meat
  15. Learn to make authentic Chicken Korma
  16. Learn to make naan
  17. Plant herbs in the summer; bring them in in the winter
  18. Plant lavender and chamomile
  19. Have breakfast on the patio
  20. Eat dinner at the table  4 nights  a week
  21. Lose the baby weight (20 lbs)
  22. Walk the dogs 2-3 times a week (weather permitting)
  23. Read two books a month
  24. Read 4 banned books
  25. Read 10 books I was supposed to have read in college
  26. Participate in NaNoWriMo
  27. Spend a day at Barnes and Noble
  28. Update my blog once a week
  29. Follow one blog regularly (Hello, Crunchy Betty!)
  30. Write one poem a month
  31. Spend more time playing with Alex
  32. Spend more time playing with Ben
  33. Make a snowman with Alex (and with Ben when he’s older)
  34. Read at least one book per day to each kiddo
  35. Take the kids to the pool/park/children’s museum twice a month
  36. Nurse Ben until he’s one
  37. Update the kids’ journals monthly
  38. Update photo albums regularly
  39. Establish a bedtime routine for Ben
  40. Have a family day once a month (no tv, no phones, no internet)
  41. Start ESAs for the kids
  42. Get life insurance
  43. Make a will
  44. Save 20 dollars for every week I nurse
  45. Pay off credit card
  46. Pay off Perkins loan
  47. Pay off car & truck
  48. Spend one day a week in sweatpants
  49. Spend one day a week without makeup
  50. Take a bubble bath twice a week
  51. Shave once a week (is it sad that I have to put that on a list?)
  52. Visit the dentist every 6 months
  53. Floss regularly
  54. Have a date night in once a month
  55. Have a night out with Aaron every three months
  56. Have a night out with friends every three months
  57. Spend time every day connecting with Aaron
  58. Get new glasses
  59. Buy knee-high boots and wear them with leggings
  60. Make my own lotion
  61. Make my own lip balm
  62. Make my own deodorant
  63. Visit the Lienkeugel’s Brewery
  64. Visit Wisconsin Dells
  65. Host a Pampered Chef Party
  66. Subscribe to a professional journal (pedagogical or composition theory)
  67. Set aside specific times to work — and actually work!!
  68. Bite the price and subscribe to Astronomy magazine
  69. Buy a telescope
  70. Learn to sew (more than buttons)
  71. Go fishing with my dad
  72. Go to a spa with my mom
  73. Watch Star Trek: TOS (accomplishing as I write this…Captain Kirk was the shit!)
  74. Find Rolaids!
  75. Get up and watch the sunrise
  76. Seriously look into homeschooling
  77. Stay up late once a month
  78. Sleep in once a month
  79. Volunteer at the Humane Society
  80. Have a garage sale; sell more than just kids’ stuff (ie, get rid of crap!)
  81. Get tattoo for Ben
  82. Preserve wedding gown
  83. Buy a nice camera
  84. Take a photography class
  85. Buy a piano
  86. Start piano lessons (perhaps a guitar would be cheaper and easier??)
  87. Start Christmas shopping before December
  88. Incorporate pink or purple into Christmas decor
  89. Wear more accessories
  90. Decorate the house (more personality)
  91. Fly somewhere (I hate to fly)
  92. Procrastinate less
  93. Drive less aggressively
  94. Be more patient with the kiddos
  95. Learn Greek myth
  96. Watch The Godfather trilogy
  97. Mow the lawn
  98. Snowblow the driveway
  99. Visit McCrory Gardens more
  100. Clean the bathroom (top to bottom) once a week
  101. Get a mani-pedi once a year

So there you go, my 101 in 1001. As noted, I’m watching TOS right now.  I have to admit, although William Shatner is undoubtedly one of the coolest people ever, the show itself isn’t really keeping my attention. It’s not as campy as I thought it would be, it’s just a little boring so far. I’m on episode 4 and so far, every episode deals with someone going crazy. Must have been all the LSD being passed around in the 60’s.

Happy New Year!

I Need A Hobby

I’m a really boring person. I go to work. I come home. That’s about it. Oh, sure, I do things in between getting up in the morning and going to bed at night, but nothing too terribly interesting. The hubs has been telling me for years to get out and do something, to find a hobby. But the truth is, I like sitting on my ass. I like relaxing, lounging around reading a good book, a good blog, or just plain watching TV. I see nothing wrong with this, except that it makes me pretty boring. Since I’m way too cute to be boring, I’ve decided to take the hubs’s advice and find a hobby. I stumbled across this site recently, and after pouring over it (and many other reference sites) for days, I think perhaps I’ve found my hobby.

Who knew that having food on your face could be so damn cool? And who knew that making so many personal care products would be not only easy, but super fun as well? Well, I didn’t, so a big THANK YOU to Leslie, aka Crunchy Betty, for opening my eyes!  So far, I’ve made homemade laundry soap, glass cleaner, disinfectant, daily face scrub (OMG, my skin is glowing!), and a banana/honey/yogurt mask (YUMO!). And now I’ve got the bug to make more fun, yummy, all-natural stuff. The hubs actually called me crunchy the other day (he’s more than a little weirded out by the homemade laundry soap), which I took as a compliment. I’m going to try my hand at the homemade bath oils/bath powders to give as Christmas gifts, accompanied by homemade brown sugar scrub and homemade bubble bath. I only have a few essential oils so far, but more are on the way (the Juniper is for ME!) and then there’s no looking back!

This certainly isn’t my first run-in with crunchiness. I made all of Alexandra’s baby food (partly, I think, to make up for the guilt I felt for not trying harder to breastfeed) and am proud to say she never had store-bought baby food (of course, all the McNuggets she’s had since probably negate the wholesome goodness of the homemade baby food, but whatever). I also (TMI alert, here) stopped using tampons a few months before I got pregnant with Ben, switching instead to the Diva Cup, which is one of the greatest inventions ever, right up there with the Magic Bullet and clicky pens. I also recycle (duh), try to buy local, and refuse to use paper plates (whether any of those actually make me crunchy, I don’t know, but they sound good). However, no matter how much food I put on my face, no matter how much homemade laundry soap I make, the one crunchy step you’ll never see me take: cloth diapers. Ick, ick, ick. Yes, I know that they fill up landfills (thus the reason I don’t use paper plates) and they probably take millions of years to biodegrade. I get it, I really do. No amount of getting it is going to encourage me to give up disposables, though. There has to be some perk to living in the 21st century, right? Disposable diapers and not having to churn my own butter are right at the top of my list. Although perhaps there’s something to be said for churning my own butter…do I sense another possible hobby on the horizon? Perhaps, although probably not…let’s face it, I’m lazy. Thus the reason I need a hobby in the first place.


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