Saturday, December 31, 2011

Summing up 2011

Last year, I did a post summing up 2010.  It was funny to read through it and see where I was, with my assessment of the year and my hopes for 2011, last year.  Mostly, I just remember feeling like I was on the verge of some pretty exciting things- running my first marathon and trying to get pregnant, finally after waiting years to even try.  I guess technically I accomplished both of these goals in 2011, but I really didn't accomplish that second goal the way I'd hoped to.  I didn't know trying to get pregnant would define my year so much.  Anyway, here's this year's version of the survey.

1. Your 2010 in three words:   Trying, Pregnancy, Coping
I hate to say it, but when I think about this year, that's what really stands out to me.  Trying to get pregnant, being pregnant for a short time, and then coping with the miscarriage and trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant again.  It's been a really hard year trying to make it happen and it really took a toll on me, emotionally.

2. Your top 10 best moments/nights/events/etc. of 2011:
Not including the day I found out I was pregnant and the time I knew I was pregnant, I would say these were my favorite times of the year:

Visiting New Orleans with Greg.
Running the Charleston Marathon!
Weekend in DC visiting my friend Alison and spectating at the National Marathon.
The weekend I went to Albany for a wedding and then to NYC to see my brother.
My friend Melanie's baby shower.
Healthy Living Summit
Visiting NH
Smoky Mountain Trip
Spectating at the Savannah Marathon
Meeting my niece and doing early Christmas with my fam.

3. The best purchase you made in 2011?

Probably my IPhone.  My first phone with internet on it.  Life changing!  I can tweet, play Angry Birds, or read blogs anywhere.  Good times!

4. The music that defined your year?

Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto
The Damnwells
Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift, and lots of other country- I listened to a lot of country music in the car and at work.

5.  Your best kiss of 2010:  Oh I don't know...  Pretty much anytime my husband is home to kiss it's a good thing!

6.  The night you felt the best/prettiest all year:  I felt pretty good when Greg took me out for my birthday...

7.  The best meal you ate in 2011:  The one I had with my Mom at Vivace during Charlotte restaurant week stands out!  Yum!

8.  The people you missed the most in 2011:  I was lucky that I got to see both of my long distance best friends this year, so that was cool!  I would actually say Greg, because he had a tough schedule this year with only 12 days off a month and he missed a lot, unfortunately.  It also, as a lot of you know, made it that much more difficult for us in our efforts to conceive that he was gone so much of the time.

9.  The best movie you saw all year:  I thoguht Crazy Stupid Love was great.

10.  The person you got to know the most in 2011:  Probably Cindi and Erin.  We hung out quite a bit this year. 

Cindi is funny, down to earth, and easy to talk to.  Oh and her baby is CUTE, so that doesn't hurt!

Erin and I roomed together at the Healthy Living Summit and even shared a bed, so that right there took our relationship to the next level ;)  Just kidding!  Seriously though, Erin and I had many long talks about my TTC efforts this year, she was a great friend to listen to me whine about it and get together with me when Greg was traveling.  I enjoyed our time together all year!

11.  The person you grew apart from the most in 2011:  Thankfully no one really.  I've mananged to maintain some pretty strong friendships!

12.  The biggest risk you took in 2011:  Maybe blogging about my miscarriage?  I just felt like I needed to get it out and wanted other people dealing with this to not feel alone.

13.  The biggest change you made in 2011:   Last year it was running more, this year it was running less.  I spent a lot of time worried this year that running would interfere with my efforts to conceive, so I cut way back on running.  I kind of regret that...  I've picked it up more since October/November though, consistently running at least twice a week or more, so I'm glad to be back at it.  I did about 3.5 miles this morning and felt great.

14.  Your biggest accomplishment in 2011:  Running my full marathon

15.  What you’re hoping for in 2012:
To get pregnant AND carry my baby to term (just so there's no confusion about that!).
For Greg's job with the airlines to be stable and continue on an upward trend.
To be happy!!! (I wish for that every year)
To visit family and friends I didn't get to see enough this year.
To continue working out, probably a little more than I did this year.
To try not to let TTC take over my life as much and dictate my happiness.
To take a few fun trips.  We have one coming up in January!  More to come on that...

To sum it up, I'd be lying if I said that 2011 felt like a great year for me, it was a really hard year, and I'm not really sorry to see it go.  A lot of tears were shed, a lot of days were kind of dark for me...  But I did have some great times too.  It's been hard for me to remain optimistic and keep the momentum of hope going this year, but I will say that while running this morning, I felt a glimmer of hope for the new year.  I really, really hope this is the year we add a baby to our family.  I've never felt more ready.  Here's hoping this is a great year, and I'll do my best to make it a great one! 

Happy New Year to you guys and thanks again for reading my blog all year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Merry Christmas

You'll all be happy to hear that I mustered up some Christmas spirit and had a great weekend with my parents.  My mom left the following comment on my last post after reading what a lump I was being:

I can't wait to come and celebrate an encore Christmas with you! We are going to watch Love Actually, eat potato pancakes, have some kind of Christmas cocktail & I got you another present!!!

You better have that Christmas music playing when we arrive tomorrow missy.

Love, Mom

So I really didn't have a choice, but to have a good time. :)

I started my Christmas Eve by breaking in one of my Christmas presents, my new Asics from my brother.

My friend Kerrie is training for the Miami half marathon, and I offered to run 4 of her 9 miles with her at a local trail.

It was pretty cold out, but it felt great to get out there.  I let her set the pace since it was her training run, so she kept track on her Garmin.

Four plus miles done, I headed out to get prepped for my parents' arrival.

They rolled in mid afternoon and we headed to the town center nearby to get some coffee and walk around.  If I was in doubt about my Christmas spirit, the unexpected fire truck parade, with Santa a top, helped.

Santa!  I KNOW him!

Filled with spirit, we headed back home and had a little snack and some cocktails...

Then we headed out for Christmas Eve dinner at Vivace.  We thought it would be fun to go out one night and stay in the other since my parents were in town for two nights.  My mom and I went to Vivace for restaurant week over the summer and it was phenomenal.

My mom and I went halvsies on the seasonal salad: roasted beets, gorgonzola, candied walnuts, red onion agrodolce, lemon vinaigrette.  Excuse my crappy IPhone pic.  It was pretty dimly lit in the restaurant.

Anyway, this salad rocked.  I seriously can't get enough beet salad, in case you can't tell.

We also split the CHILI-CAPELLINI & Crab roasted garlic, lemon, melted tomatoes, spinach, frutti di mare brodo.


Spicy seafood deliciousness.

And lastly we split the Veal Saltimbocca: fresh mozzarella ravioli, porcinis, brown butter.  I'm definitely morally wary of veal and think it's kind of wrong to eat it, but my mom really wanted it.  I eat it very infrequently and never order it myself, but I've tried it when other people get it.  It was good, but I'd be just as happy with chicken, or a meatless entree.  I actually loved the ravioli that came with it, and could have eaten a whole plate of those with the incredible mushroom sauce.

Bellies full, we headed home and watched one of many movies watched this weekend, Hall Pass. 

I have the worst track record ever for watching movies with unexpected nudity with my parents, and this was no exception.  If you have seen this and remember the scene where Owen Wilson passes out in the hot tub and the naked guys in the sauna save him, you know what I'm talking about...

Christmas morning was a low key affair.  My parents exchanged stockings, and I opened a few gifts sent from friends and family.  We decided against a big breakfast and just had fruit, yogurt, and danish.

We went on a brisk walk in the neighborhood after breakfast.  The temperature in Charlotte finally dropped some, and even though it wasn't a white Christmas, it at least felt like winter. 

Lunch was panini sandwiches with turkey, cheese, tomato, and spinach with a handful of chips.  My mom and I also split a Shiner Bock Holiday beer, which are awesome.

We headed out to see a matinee of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which both my parents have read and seen the Swedish movie versions of. 

I have wanted to read the book the book for a while, but haven't, and decided I could see the movie and then maybe read the other two books in the series if it pulled me in.  The movie is VERY intense.  If you're not familiar, be warned that there is a graphic rape scene in it that was pretty disturbing (again with watching awkward stuff with my parents...).  One couple actually got up and walked out.  The movie was good though, and I immediately went home and downloaded The Girl Who Played With Fire on my Kindle (Christmas present from my parents), so that I could continue reading what happens.

My mom and I cooked Christmas dinner at my house, which was a roasted beef tenderloin, potato pancakes, apple sauce, and green beans.


My mom and I watched Love Actually after dinner, while my dad caught a football game in the other room.

Monday we just ate breakfast, went on a short shopping trip (I got some silver nail polish for New Years Eve), and then they headed home, while I read my newly downloaded Kindle book and enjoyed my day off :).  Greg made it home around 7pm last night and we got to have Christmas dinner, round two, together.

That pretty much sums up my Christmas this year.  How'd yours go??

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Where's My Christmas Spirit?

It happens to me every year.  I blame the early Christmas we have with my brother.  We had a great time.  Presents were exchanged, babies were snuggled, food was consumed, there was lots of Christmas spirit, and lots of love.  Then the weekend was over. 

Avery looks pretty hardcore, huh?

I also celebrated Christmas early with Greg (and Clyde) this past weekend since he's going to be gone on Christmas this year.  Clyde enjoyed his candy cane rawhides.

I am enjoying my new (unexpected) IPad from Greg!

It's a been fun and festive season.  Parties were attended, decorations are up, and I have like 5 containers of Christmas cookies sitting on my kitchen counter.  Please come over and eat some.

But, I'm kind of over Christmas already.  I feel like I already celebrated it, so the actual day of Christmas has lost its luster now. 

Last night I forced myself to bake a double batch of candy cane cookies for my work friends... while watching The Haunting of Sorority Row.  Not exactly a Christmas movie (it was pretty dumb, if you are wondering).

Today, I watched some of Christmas Vacation on my lunch break with some co-workers, who are still getting excited about this weekend.

But while I feel like others are still gearing up and getting excited for Christmas, I'm kind of slowing down.  I don't mean to be a Grinch about it.  I LOVE Christmas!  It's just that even though it's more important to me to celebrate with my family when they are able to, it's still hard to not do it on the actual day when most people do.  It just sucks a little of the fun out of it. 

My parents are coming to hang out with me this weekend, so that should be fun.  Hopefully I can keep the Christmas spirit alive just a little longer and be festive with them one more time. 

I say bring on New Years Eve.  I'm ready for the next holiday!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cookie Exchanging

After tearing myself away from my adorable niece...

I arrived home from Hilton Head on Tuesday night around 8pm.  After unpacking my car, the first thing I did was start getting out cookie ingredients and start whipping up some cookies.  I had two cookie exchanges (you can read about the one I hosted last year here) coming up, and knew I needed to get a jump on things.  Enter, a gazillion batches of spice cookies. 

I love making my orange chocolate pinwheels, candy cane cookies, sugar cookies, and a few others during the holidays, but these cookies are probably the easiest homemade Christmas cookies I make each year, so they were a logical choice since I knew I had a busy week going on and many of the other cookies are way more labor intensive and time consuming with multiple stages of chilling, rolling, etc...  The spice cookies are cool because you pretty much mix the wet stuff, mix the dry stuff, and then mix them together.  Perfect! 

Armed with 6 dozen spice cookies, the first cookie exchange I went to was at Brittany's house.  She had out some festive wine glasses, so I helped myself to a glass of red while checking out the cookie spread.

We did a bunch of chatting about babies, book club (which we haven't done consistently in a couple months now), and all other fun girl stuff, before we got in there and collected up our cookie hauls.

We of course got the obligatory group shot.  Love these girls.

(borrowed from Brittany)

That's me on the end looking awkward as usual...haha.

Cookie success!

The second cookie exchange I had this week was at work yesterday.  This one only required 2 dozen cookies, but you only got one of each other kind of cookie.  I had my box sitting my office and had to shoo a few people away since I only have one of each kind to try!

I will tell you that there used to be a coconut macaroon in there that was promptly devoured.  I need to learn how to make macaroons.

Good thing Greg is home this weekend.  I need his help in gobbling these babies up!

Did you attend (or host) a cookie exchange this year?

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's Christmas Time

Hey all!  Long time no write!  I know I say this all the time, but it's been insanely busy, as I began to prep for and start celebrating Christmas!  It's such a busy time of year.

Greg and I finally started working on our decorating, putting up the tree, shopping, wrapping presents, and cookie baking.

I feel like this stuff kind of takes over this time of year, and a few free hours on a week night (to blog) become non-existent! 

We also did Christmas pictures of Clyde.  I had seen a picture of a dachshund with Christmas lights around it and decided to try and recreate it.

We have a winner :)  Christmas cards ordered!

My side of the family devised a plan a couple years ago to get together sometime in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, since it's difficult for my brother to travel on actual holidays.  It works pretty well.  Usually everyone comes to my house in Charlotte, but this year we mixed things up and decided to get together in Hilton Head.  This created a slight glitch in that Greg's December schedule came out after this plan was devised, and unfortunely he wasn't able to make it, since Hilton Head is a 3 1/2 hour drive from Charlotte and commuting got in the way. Saturday, he headed back to Houston and I headed down to see the fam. 

Christmas with my family was special this year, because this was my first time meeting my new niece Avery, who is now 3 months old!

Yeaaaaaaah... I'm in love.... *sigh*.

She's a little angel, and I've really enjoyed getting to know her the last few days.  It's really been a joyful experience and it's been great for my jealousy issues with it all.  I'm so glad!

Aside from fawning over my niece, we've been having lots of great family meals together.  One night we had this awesome appetizer, which is a mixture of marscapone and ricotta cheeses, with roasted tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh mozzarella and drizzed with olive oil and basil.

You spread it on toasted baguette.  It's tremendous...

We've also had seared scallops, shrimp, roasted turkey, and all kinds of good stuff.

Well, just wanted to check in!  I'm headed out to have a little more fun with everyone!  Hope your holidays are getting underway and you are having as much fun as I am!

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