What’s going on lately

Considering that I’ve had this post saved and have revisted it 5 times over the course of the last few days’ “SNOWPOCALYPSE 2011” event, you’d have thought I’d be a bit more productive. But that has not been the case. I sat there and tried to craft some witty little title for this blog, but there’s just so much random stuff going on lately that nothing I could come up with really pulled it all together. So here’s the rundown.

1. EVERYONE is PREGNANT!! Oh my gosh, I thought 2010 was a banner year for babies, but I’m starting to think 2011 is really going to blow that out of the water. At our church alone, there are 10 or more babies expected in the new year and well…we’re only 10 days in, so I’m gonna assume that number will continue to climb. It’s funny too, because I’m realizing that the girls who are finding out about pregnancies now are the girls who will deliver their babies around Russ’s first birthday. Talk about humbling. I’ll tell ya one thing, for all the un-glamorousness of pregnancy, it is really fun enjoying all the planning, preparation, anticipation, and excitement. It makes me that much more giddy and ridiculously psyched for all those I know who are pregnant (especially the first-timers).

I just hope I can be the supportive, encouraging, and still neutral and accepting person that they need when they are looking for an ear to hear their woes or worries. I hope I can always remember to step back and give each and every one of those friends the room to establish who SHE is as a parent…after all, we are all just learning and feeling our way through the dark with this motherhood stuff. Not a one of us is perfect. It’s tough when you’re expecting your first child and every person you meet has a new piece of advice (usually one that conflicts with the last piece of advice you heard, too). It can get really confusing and downright uncomfortable at times, so I just hope I can leave it at this – to all you friends of mine who are expecting babies for the first time ever, I will promise you this: there is not a question you can ask me, a vent session you can bestow upon me, a rant you can ramble off that I will not gladly listen to and – if you wish – advise on. But seriously, all advice aside, if you just need to rant and vent and wonder to aloud to yourself “HOW is that even NORMAL?,” I promise you I will never judge you. So bring on the TMI and the 20 Questions, I’m your girl. And I have a LOT of baby shopping to do.

2. I love cooking. This is new. Not that I “love cooking,” because I always kind of enjoyed it. But recently, I’ve reorganized my entire kitchen, and in so many ways, that feels like reorganizing my entire life. I spend a LOT of time lamenting the things that I would change about our kitchen and have even expressed regret that we bought this place. I blame it on being a 22 year-old, first-time home buyer back when the real estate bubble was still firmly in place (this house doesn’t have a garage, either, but that’s an entirely different rant for another day). Our kitchen is definitely on the small side and it’s L-shaped, so we have this entire blank wall that kind of wastes perfectly usable space. The cabinets were also clearly designed and laid out by a DUDE, in the early 80s no less, and therefore have narrow openings and aren’t very deep. Granted, it’s not that dude’s fault that the average dinner plate has grown a few inches since the 1980s, but it’s still a bit of an inconvenience at times. Or so I thought, until New Years Day rolled around and I suddenly got the “organizational bug.” I just randomly decided to myself, I’m going to pull absolutely everything out of every cabinet and closet in the kitchen. Right now.

I’ve been known to go on these organizational binge-and-purge benders before, but I’m going to guess Jonathan thought that most of those could be attributed to late pregnancy and the “nesting” phenomenon. Again…not the case. It’s just that I’m a procrastinator’s procrastinator, meaning I will let disorder and chaos pile up around me until it seems like I’m hedging on normal and then BAM! Out comes the OCD need to organize everything in its place. I’m nothing if not predictable…

But in all seriousness, this time it was the best thing EVER. Organizing the kitchen, redesignating each thing to its “perfect” place, cleaning out the freezer (Why hello, long-lost-beef-roast-from-2006, we meet again!), emptying all those old packets of sugar-free jello mix from the pantry…it was all so therapeutic and it really made me WANT to cook stuff. We also took down things we’d packed away into the attic back in ’09 (pre-pregnancy, when we were trying to sell our house) and found places for a few wedding gifts that we hadn’t even opened since right after our wedding, almost five years ago. Like I have two carrot peelers now, who knew? And now, with all my crap finally set up in a way that works for me and makes some sort of sense for the layout of the kitchen (and just in simple terms of efficiency), I’ve been on a cooking streak that we are all enjoying. Especially Jonathan. In the past week alone, I’ve made (among other things) a banana pudding from scratch, chicken and corn chowder, pasta with italian sausage-and-pepper sauce, lemony chicken with sage browned butter sauce, an apple cake…okay, I’ll stop. Let’s just say I am washing a LOT of dishes lately and reading a LOT of Cooking Light magazine.

There is something affirming and fulfilling about cooking, though, especially when I’ve not done as much of it as I’d like in the past few years. It’s crazy how I could graduate college, get married, move away from home, buy a house, get a dog, celebrate four anniversaries, get pregnant, HAVE A BABY, go through not one but two renovations, have my first Christmas away from my parents, and yet still not feel 100% like an adult. The other day when I was making my mom’s banana pudding recipe and I pulled the perfectly browned, meringue-topped bowl o’ yumminess out from under the broiler…well, let’s just say I finally felt like a big girl. I’ve started a recipe file for myself and hope to have it full of great stuff soon. I’m experimenting with whole wheat flour and things that can make a normal dish a bit healthier, too – though, I do believe that some recipes just shouldn’t be messed with. All in all, I’m just really enjoying my “new” kitchen. But I am still looking forward to the day when I have that “dream” kitchen where I can display a robin’s egg blue KitchenAid stand mixer or a Le Creuset dutch oven. It’ll be awhile, but I can’t wait to teach my kids how to cook!

3. I’m feeling kind of run-down in the past few days. Now, maybe it’s that I’m exhausting myself with all this cooking, but I kind of doubt it. It’s not that I’m feeling sick, either. I’m really just feeling sort of fatigued, my muscles are all knotted up, and I just thing that taking a few days off from workouts would probably do me good. So this snowstorm probably arrived at a good time! I’m not sure exactly when I’ll return to the gym, but it may be towards the end of this week or even the beginning of next week. One thing I learned before I got pregnant with Russ (a lesson which served me well during my pregnancy, I might add) is that you have to be able to hear your body’s cries for rest and recuperation, back up (if possible), and regroup. So I’m trying to do that now, when I know I’m being physically and mentally taxed like never before in my life. Granted, I think my life isn’t too difficult right now (Russ isn’t mobile…I think once he’s walking, all hell will officially break loose), but the way I feel lately is telling me otherwise. And it could always be a seasonal thing, who knows. But I’m going to ratchet back the workouts a tad for a few days, up my sleep (haha…if Russ will cooperate, that is), and see how I feel.

4. Russ is almost four months old. When did that happen? Wasn’t I just blogging about my birth story? Oh man, the time is flying by. At this point, he’s starting to run out of room in his 3-6 month clothes, despite the fact that he isn’t officially four months old until Saturday. Already I am packing away clothes that I won’t see until, hopefully, the next little boy comes along (and yes, I would LOVE to have more little boys) and I just can’t believe how quickly it all happened and was gone. Russ is just nothing like the little, warm, squirmy bundle of new babyness that we brought home back in September, and that transformation has been an adventure in itself. But we’re having a great time, as always, and trying to look forward and not backward. I do think he’s going to be ready for an exersaucer soon, so that’s the next thing I have to get. Craigslist, here I come…

Until next time (and hopefully a much more succinct and cohesive post), everyone stay warm out there!

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