2009 Year in Review Survey

2009 Year in Review Survey

1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?
Started running! I ran a 5k, a 4mile, and a 10k race. But I also ran 8.5 miles on my own at one point. I wanted to get up to 10, but didn't make it once the weather got cold. I also made my first pie, and it was completely from scratch. Apple Cranberry Crumb Pie, delicious.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't usually make any, but this year I think I'm going to cut back on candy.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes, a couple of my friends from mom's group.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?
Again, just the U.S. I haven't been out of the country in a very very long time.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
After making pasta for Christmas dinner with a borrowed pasta maker, perhaps a pasta maker.

7. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
The day my sister got married, Dylan's 1st birthday

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Running a 10k!

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not running 10 miles. Just gives me something to work on next year.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had the H1N1 flu after Halloween.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My small Le Crueset dutch oven... best cooking pot EVER.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My mom's for sticking with Weight Watchers all year, and continuing to run even when it's below freezing.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Jon and Kate's

14. Where did most of your money go?
house, cars, Dylan

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Elizabeth's wedding and related festivities. The release of New Moon. Dylan's 1st Birthday.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?
"Nothing Gets Crossed Out" by Bright Eyes (off the Lifted album)

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. Happier or Sadder?: happier
ii. Thinner or Fatter than last year?: thinner
iii. Richer or Poorer?: not sure.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Play piano, SLEEP

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
House work.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
We got up early with Dylan and opened presents. Then my family came over for brunch, and my in-laws came over for dinner. Then I washed a bunch of dishes. But it was good :)

22. Did you fall in love in 2009?
Stayed in love

23. How many one-night stands?

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Project Runway, 30 Rock, General Hospital, Flight of the Conchords, American Idol, Lost

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

26. What was the best book you read?
Dracula. But I didn't read a whole lot this year.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Connor Oberst and his various musical groups (Bright Eyes, Mystic Valley Band, Monsters of Folk). He is so good!

28. What did you want and get?
Fortunately, many things :) My favorite... the necklace matt got me for christmas.

29. What did you want and not get?
I can't really think of anything

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
I know this is kind of lame, but I'm going to go with New Moon. I also thought the Michael Jackson movie and Pirate Radio were good. Avatar was cool too.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 28. Matt and I went out to dinner at Lightfoot. And a few days later my mom had us over for dinner and cake.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
For something to not have happened this summer.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
yay! I finally lost my baby weight and can wear real clothes again!!

34. What kept you sane?
my husband, my family, and friends... also, the fact that Dylan still lets me listen to my music in the car.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Connor Oberst I guess... I bought basically all his albums this year. and Sam the Cooking guy.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

37. Who did you miss?
Tuba Steve, who is off in Iraq until sometime next year :(

38. Who was the best new person you met?
I didnt meet many new people this year. I think I mostly worked on established relationships.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009?
How to deal with loss.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

(I realize this may come across slightly gloomy, but I dont mean it to):
If everything that happens is supposed to be
And it's all pre-determined, can't change your destiny
Guess I'll just keep moving, someday maybe
I'll get to where I'm going
"Nothing Gets Crossed Out" by Bright Eyes


Art News

Whenever I stumble over these types of things a part of me misses my old job at the NGA.



Run Run Run

I completed my first 10k race! Matt and I both ran the Leesburg 10k yesterday and I think we did really well. I finished in 1 hr 21 minutes, which sadly put me in last place for my division, but I'm okay with that. Matt finished in 1 hr 8 minutes and did much better in his division. Not bad since I've only been running since May, and matt only started running a few weeks ago (though he did run through college). Despite the really hot weather, it was a nice run. Most of it was in the shade, and we ran right by our house, so the route was really familiar. I feel very proud of myself for having accomplished something that a year ago I never thought would be possible. It's making me strongly consider running an half marathon next spring, I think a marathon is still a little beyond my grasp at this point, I'm not sure I'd be able to dedicate enough time for training to accomplish that. But I think a half marathon is do-able. We'll see though.

Upcoming races: a 10k with my friend Melissa the first weekend of October in Harper's Ferry. Then another Leesburg run, a 5k this time the following weekend. And another 5k in Ashburn in November. I'm trying to complete the Loudoun racing series because I think you get a medal if you run 4 out of the 6 races. I missed the first 2 becuase I wasn't running yet, but I think I can finish the last two since they are both 5ks. One is a cross country run though, which I haven't tried yet, I'm hoping it won't be that bad though.


A Day in the Life, part 1

A while ago I wrote about a typical day for me and Dylan. I thought I'd do that again since he's changed so much since then.

We usually wake up between 6:00 and 6:30. It takes me a couple minutes to accept that he is in fact awake for good (every morning I pray that he'll go back to sleep for an hour but he never does). After a quick diaper change we go downstairs and I prepare a cup of milk for him. Dylan looooves his milk in the morning, we'll go into the living room and watch some Disney cartoons, Handy Manny is his current favorite, while he drinks his milk in his own personal chair. Sometimes though he'll cuddle up with me on the couch while he drinks his milk. After he finishes his milk he'll play with his toys and crawl around for a little while. Usually around 7:30 his about ready for breakfast which typically consists of yogurt and a banana or banana bread or Kix. From time to time I switch it up by making pancakes, and sometimes Dylan will have a couple bits of my cereal, but for the most part he really just wants yogurt, so I stick with that. After breakfast he plays some more until it's time for diaper change #2, at this point we both get dressed for the day. Lately right after we're dressed and our teeth are brushed (which he also loves), we head out for morning errands and our daily trip to the park.

Dylan loves the park. On rainy days when we have to stay inside he gets unbelievably cranky... to the point where I sometimes end up putting him down for a nap an hour earlier than normal. But if we go outside, he is completely content. We usually spend about an hour at the park, with a snack break about half way through. I hold his hand to help him with his walking, because I have a "no carry" rule once we enter the park. I mean the whole point of going is for him to get his energy out, and that wouldn't happen if I carried him everywhere. His current favorite park activities: going down slides of all sizes, playing with the mulch (he often walks around carrying fistfuls of it and offering pieces to random children), walking in the grass, and swinging with me. He also loves pointing at all the dogs who walk by and saying "dog" a million times for each one. Dog, by the way, was his first real word. Once he starts winding down, we head back home. Which is literally a mile and a half away, about a 5 minute car ride, but he always falls asleep on the way home, which is fine because once we're home it's nap time anyway and I'm able to put him down in his crib with no problems.

Dylan will nap about 2 or 3 hours (if I'm lucky) most days. He's only doing one nap a day now, which I thought I would hate, but I actually love. This schedule lets us go out in the morning, hang out and rest in the middle of the day, and go out in the afternoon if we want. The only tough part about it is that most of our other baby friends are still doing 2 naps, which puts them on opposite schedules as us, so we haven't been participating in as many playgroups, etc. But we try to go to them when we can. While he naps I try to get a few things done around the house, laundry, dishes, showering, etc. I also try to rest for a little while as well, though some days that just doesn't happen.

Once Dylan wakes up it's lunch time. His favorite lunch currently consists of chicken nuggets, a piece of bread, and lots of fruit. For a while he wasn't eating very well at lunch time. Some days he'd only have a bite or two of fruit and that was it. But fortunately he's gotten better lately. I think finding a good brand of chicken nuggets helped. But he'll also eat PBJ sandwiches, some dinner leftovers, and mac and cheese so we've come a long way. Fruit is still by far his favorite thing to eat though, he definitely takes after me on that.

More of our afternoon activities to come.


Chicken with Artichokes

I recipe I altered from another one... it's REALLY good. I sent this to my sister Sarah yesterday so she could cook it and she liked it too. She made a few changes, which I've noted.

For the Chicken:
Chicken cutlets (matt and I each ate 3 of the thin slices)
flour for dredging the chicken, I added salt and pepper to the flour
olive oil to cook the chicken in

-about 1/2 cup of white wine
-juice from 1/2 lemon
-chicken stock (as much as it takes to make enough sauce)
- 2 or 3 cloves of garlic
-2 cans of (drained) artichokes, not marinated (I used 2 of the small jars of artichokes and we had a few leftover)

1. Dredge chicken in flour
2. Cook chicken in olive oil over high heat, about 2-3 minutes on each side (or until done, I never really time things). They should get nice and golden brown
3. Remove chicken from pan, reduce heat to medium
4. Add garlic
5. Deglaze pan with wine, add chicken stock, lemon juice (Sarah let the sauce reduce a little and added some cornstarch to make it thicker)
6. Add artichokes, cook until artichokes are warm
7. Return chicken to pan to coat everything with sauce

I served it with orzo, but it's probably good with other pasta too.

Running Fever

Last post a I talked a little bit about how I started running. Well, this weekend I completed the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure and I did waaay better than my initial goal! I trained for a little less than a month (after not running since high school), the first 2 1/2 weeks was slow going. But about halfway through my training things started to click and I went from running 15 minutes nonstop one day, to 30 minutes the next, to 54 minutes less than a week later! And I think I could have kept running that day, but I knew that if I didn't hit the hour mark that run, I'd be more motivated it to it again and run for a full hour. In the past week I think I ran about 14 miles total, which is something I NEVER thought I'd do. After all, I'm certainly no runner.

The race was good though. Fortunately it wasn't too hot or sunny out (which really helped), and I think running with 10,000 other people helped me push myself a little harder than I would have otherwise. My main goal going into the run was simply to not walk, and I knew I could do at least that much. I ended up finishing in 40 minutes 13 seconds, which isn't too shabby for a first attempt. I definitely exceeded my expectations, which made me proud of myself.

A few days before the race I got a little concerned that I wouldn't continue running with such motivation after the race, so I went ahead and signed myself up for another one. The next one is a 4 mile run in Ashburn (much closer to home) on June 27th. I'm taking today off, but starting back up on Wednesday. I think now that I know I can make it 4 miles without stopping I should probably start some speed training so my time is a little better. Before I do anything more though I need to get some new shoes. My ankles are killing me, and I think it's because my shoes are old and technically "walking" shoes.

Still trying to figure out a realistic goal for the Ashburn race. According to my results from Saturday I was running 12 min 50 sec miles, so 4 of those would put me at: 52 minutes. But since I'm trying to do better maybe I'll set my goal for under 50 minutes. Hopefully that's realistic, but at the same time still pushes me to do better. It only shaves about 1/2 minute of my mile time, but I'm also going to be running a little further, so I'll have to work on both speed and endurance. We'll see how I do.


Busy Bees

April and May have turned out to be pretty crazy months here. We've had lots going on lately, and things are just starting to quiet down, which means Dylan and I are relaxing more and catching up on some much needed naps.

Lately Dylan and I have done a few new things, so I thought I'd talk about some of them.

To start with, I FINALLY went to Wegman's. I know, I know, it's about time. But I think anyone who's read this blog for any amount of time is well aware of my disdain for grocery shopping, so I usually stick with what's familiar so it takes as little time as possible to get in and out. But Sarah and I cooked dinner for my mom's birthday a few weeks ago and she wanted seafood... I don't really trust seafood from Giant, but I've heard that Wegman's is pretty decent so I decided to finally go there and check it out. At first I was completely overwhelmed... lots of little sections to the store that I couldn't figure out... a map or something would have been very helpful. The grocery part of the store was very confusing because I wasn't used to the layout, but eventually I made my way to the seafood section and was SO impressed. Their seafood selections looked so fresh I could hardly believe it. They are opening a Wegmans in Leesburg soon and I think once it's here we'll be eating a lot more seafood. I'm actually looking forward to it.

I've also started running. I gave myself some serious motivation by signing up for the Susan G Komen 5k in DC on June 6th. I've only had a month to "train." Running is waaaay harder than I thought it would be. I'm actually doing better than I thought I would, but I think one of my biggest challenges is finding the time and not getting bored. Usually Matt watches Dylan every other morning which gives me time to run and shower before he goes to work, but so far I'm only doing about 1/2 the running I need to be doing, so I think I'm going to need to figure something out. At the moment I walk to the bike trail (a little less than .5 miles), then I run for 5 minutes, walk for 2, run for 5, walk for 2, and then run to the end of the trail (usually about 5 minutes again, unless I really slowed down on the return) and then walk home and stretch. I'm trying to add one set of 5 minute running every week, which seems to be working so far. I don't think I'll be able to run the 5k without stopping to walk, but I'd like to run the vast majority of it, and hopefully finish in a decent time... though I have no idea what that might be... in fact I dont really even know how far I'm running so far. One day I'm going to have to figure it out.

I missed running yesterday though, and I feel super guilty about it. I definitely won't miss it tomorrow.


Songs about Babies

Jars of Clay's new album came out today. So of course I rushed right out and bought it. There's usually at least one song on their album that I can really identify with so I listened carefully to the lyrics waiting to see which one it would be this time. I didn't have to listen too hard because it was pretty obvious which song it would be this time. It's called Boys (lesson one). It's about having a son, probably more from a father's perspective, but I can still appreciate the sentiments.

Lesson one, do not hide.
Lesson two, there are right ways to fight
and if you have questions we can talk through the night

So you know who you are and you know what you want
I've been where you're going, and it's not that far
it's too far to walk, but you don't have to run
you get there in time

Lesson three, you're not alone
But since I saw you start breathing on your own
You can leave, you can run
But this will still be your home

So you know who you are and you know what you want
I've been where you're going, and it's not that far
It's too far to walk, but you don't have to run
You get there in time, get there in time

In time, to wonder where the days have gone
In time, to be old enough to wish that you were young
When good things are unraveling, bad things come undone
If you ever love or loose your innocence

There will be liars and thieves who take from you
Not to undermine the consequence, but you are not what you do
And when you need it most I have a 100 reasons why I love you

So you know who you are and you know what you want
I've been where you're going, and it's not that far
It's too far to walk, but you don't have to run
You get there in time

So you know who you are and you know what you want
I've been where you're going, and it's not that far
It's too far to walk, but you don't have to run
You get there in time, you get there in time

If you ever love or loose your innocence,
just remember....
Lesson one....

Ever since finding out I was pregnant I've paid extra attention to songs that were written for or about the musicians child. Some of my favorites: Still Fighting and Gracie by Ben Folds, Lullaby for Wyatt by Sheryl Crow, Lullaby (Goodnight My Angel) by Billy Joel, Song for Sleeping by Stone Temple Pilots, Father and Son by Cat Stevens, Beautiful Boy by John Lennon, Forever Young by Bob Dylan. Personally I also think White Light by Wilco falls in that category but I'm not sure that was their intention. The weirdest one is probably a song by Nuno Bettencourt, written when his daughter was born, called Swollen Princess (um even the title is weird). I've included links for the lyrics in case anyone is interested. It would just take up way too much space to post all the lyrics here, but I couldn't completely resist so I put some of my favorite lyrics from the songs below:

Good morning, son
In twenty years from now
Maybe we'll both sit down and have a few beers
And I can tell you 'bout today
And how I picked you up and everything changed

You nodded off in my arms watching TV
I won't move you an inch even thought my arm's asleep
One day you're gonna want to go
I hope we taught you everything you need to know
And there will always be a part of me
Nobody else is ever gonna see but you and me

I have held you close
And breathed your name, my dear
I was with you then
And will remain, my dear
How do I keep you from losing your way
Hope you will find love like I did some day
But love is letting go
And this I'll know
Cause you were mine
For a time

Finally Ive met you
The day has come
Youre more than beautiful
And youre my son

Out on the ocean sailing away
I can hardly wait
To see you come of age
But i guess we'll both just have to be patient
'cause it's a long way to go
A hard row to hoe
Yes it's a long way to go
But in the meantime
Before you cross the street
Take my hand
Life is what happens to you
While you're busy making other plans

May you grow up to be righteous,
May you grow up to be true,
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you.
May you always be courageous,
Stand upright and be strong,
May you stay forever young,

If you feel like singing a song
And you want other people to sing along
Just sing what you feel
Don’t let anyone say it’s wrong
And if you’re trying to paint a picture
But you’re not sure which colors belong
Just paint what you see
Don’t let anyone say it’s wrong


Dylan the Flirt

Yesterday Dylan and I went to the mall to meet up with the Mom's group for lunch. After dining on some chick-fil-a I decided to do something I've sworn many, many, many times I would never do. I took Dylan into the children's play area.

When I found out I was pregnant the mall became a scary place to me. Suddenly I didn't really notice the cute clothes in the window (not that I could buy them anymore anyway) or the great sales at my favorite stores. All I noticed were the hundreds of overly stressed, overly tired moms pushing multiple whiny children in strollers, trying everything they could to keep them happy as they schlepped them from one store to the next... or even weirder, just power walked around the mall. And then eventually I'd wander past the worst part of it all... the children's play area. It's always swarming with little kids. Climbing, running, crying, screaming, shouting kids. The whole thing just stressed me out. I promised myself I would never succumb to it. Instead I'd be the mean mom who never let her kid play in the fun part of the mall. My baby may not like it, but my sanity depended on it. But it's funny how things change once you actual become a mom. At lunch one of the other mom's even made the comment "we're one of those moms now" ...how true, how true.

But now, living on the other side , I can totally understand the need for it all. We went to the mall for lunch after several days of being cooped up inside our little townhouse thanks to all the rain (and I was suffering through a cold at the same time). It was nice to have somewhere we could go to get out of the house and socialize. After sitting in a high chair through lunch (about an hour) I knew that if Dylan didn't get out and crawl for a little bit he'd be really cranky on the ride home, plus he wouldn't get out enough energy between his naps, so he probably wouldn't take a very good afternoon nap, which would mean that he'd be really cranky around dinner time, which would mean that he wouldn't eat very well at dinner, which is really not good right now since we are trying very actively to get him to gain weight. So I knew what I had to do. Fortunately a few other brave souls brought their babies to the play area too, so I didn't have to face the craziness alone.

It was crazy, but not as bad as I expected. There were kids running all over the place, nearly crawling on top of Dylan at times, but he didn't seem to mind, and as long as no one stepped on his fingers or knocked him over, I didn't mind either. And Dylan LOVED playing there. I think he really enjoyed watching all the other kids, but he especially connected to a little 6 year old girl. I'm not sure what her name was, but she totally turned in to Dylan's play time girlfriend while we were there. She played hide and seek with him, held his hand when he went down the slide, gave him hugs, made him laugh. He was so smitten. And I found it completely adorable.

So just one more example of how clueless I was about what it would be like to be a mom. Dylan didn't even have to ask to go to the play area, I willingly took him. And we both had a great time. who knew I'd like being "one of those moms"?


It's About Time

Wow, no posts since New Years... I'm getting really bad at this whole blogging thing. But now I think it's time I get back into it. I've thought about posting from time to time, but I just never sit down and do it. So what do I write about in my semi-new mom life? I guess true to most other aspects of my life I will probably be focusing a lot around Dylan, but I'll try to throw in a few other topics from time to time as well. Alright, enough forward stuff, let's get on to actual post material.

So Dylan is now 1. I think that was the fastest year of my life. I feel like ever since his birthday he's been learning and developing by leaps and bounds. He definitely understands more now, so I'm being careful to talk with him instead of just at him. With his new understanding of language and communication comes a whole new level of frustration though. Matt even commented the other day that Dylan seems to cry more now than he did as a newborn. At first I thought it might have something to do with teething or weening, but after thinking about it for a while I realized that he probably cries more now because he doesn't know how to communicate back to us. I'm sure he has a million things he tries to tell me during the day, but just doesn't know how to make me understand, so he ends up whining or crying instead. This gives me new motivation to teach him some baby signs. So far he doesn't really know any, but I've started using them more consistently and I'm hoping he'll pick them up in the next few weeks. Some of his new and favorite "tricks" at the moment: peek-a-boo (with a blanket or the curtain), putting on hats (which consist of any object that he can semi-balance on his head), giving his bear a hug, pointing, putting toys in his boxes (instead of just taking them out), banging on everything with his new drumsticks, holding the phone up to his ear, and just yesterday he started standing by himself (if only for a few seconds).

That's it for now. Gotta keep it short so I can squeeze in a shower before Dylan wakes up from his nap. More to come soon... hopefully.