Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sprinkled Eggs and a Belly Pic

Benji's been eating scrambled eggs for the last few mornings for breakfast. He calls them "sprinkled eggs." It's adorable, and it makes me laugh.
Secondly, here's my very first belly pic! It was taken at 14 weeks. Let me just remind you that with my first pregnancy, I was BARELY showing at 14 weeks and didn't start wearing maternity clothes till around 20 weeks. Not this time.
Also, don't forget to notice my new hair cut and color.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Over the Hill

My 30th birthday is one month away and fast approaching. I dread turning 30. It seems like it's the top of the hill and the rest of my life will be down the other side of that hill. I remember being 16 and 18 years old and seeing a 30-year old and thinking, "Wow, 30 is so old. I'm glad I'm still young." I don't feel that old, but I think the numbers are telling. And anyone who's over 30 and reading this will probably think, "Oh please, you're just a baby." But let's get real here, people. Thirty is no baby. I've been alive for 30 years. That's a really long time.
In fact, the other day, Chad said "...back when we were young and in love. Well, we're still in love, but we're not young anymore." I was washing my hands, so I flicked water on his face and said, "Speak for yourself!" But he's right.
And it's starting to show. The lines on my face aren't very bad, thanks to years of anti-aging products, but they're there. And I've got some new spider veins on my legs (that's probably more due to pregnancy, but still). And my breasts sag down half way to my belly button (that's more breastfeeding for a total of 46 months, but still).
I'm not young and spry anymore. I can't stay up much past 10 pm, and I don't like to get up the next morning. I get back pain, and my body gets tired much more quickly than it did 5 years ago. I already have high cholesterol, thanks to some bad genes and my love of butter. That's only going to get worse with age, my cholesterol I mean, not my love of butter.
And my evil metabolism slowed down by about 50 miles an hour. Here's a confession I've told few people because it's so awful: Right from when I turned 29 (last August) till I got pregnant in April, I gained 8 pounds! Eight pounds in 6 months! Didn't change my eating habits at all and was still working out 4-5 days a week for an hour or more each time. Just turned 29, that's all. Lousy metabolism!
Oh, and I STILL HAVE PIMPLES!!!!!! If I'm going to be old, can't I at least have a clear face? What the heck?
And I still haven't published a single thing! (Except for a poem in a totally random Canadian magazine, so that doesn't really count). I've got to finish all those novels I've started and work on publication. In fact, in my long life, I've accomplished nothing at all of significance, aside from having two children and raising them reasonably well (which is a pretty big accomplishment).
All you optimists out there will probably respond, "Be happy. Thirty is the prime of life. Wait till you're forty. Then your metabolism will really slow down, and your body will really not feel young and spry. Forget about ever running a half-marathon again then. Enjoy the life you have right now." Most of me realizes that this is true. I'm sure after awhile of being 30, I'll feel better about it. But right now, with those horrible numbers looming before me, I don't like it. I don't want to be over the hill. I don't want other 16 year olds looking at me and thinking, "Eww, she's old."
I think the only advantage to being 30 is that I'll be taken slightly more seriously. Once you're in your 30's, it's kind of like you've arrived, you're a real adult; not one of those people in her 20's, wavering between teenage-hood and adulthood.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Big Accomplishment

Over two years ago, for Christmas, Chad gave me a cookbook: Barefoot Contessa Family Style. I thought I would cook through it so I could learn a lot and become a better cook. This was long before anyone had ever heard of Julie and Julia, so don't think I'm just a big copy cat.
Well, two and a half years later, I'm done! Tonight, I cooked the last of 79 recipes! Now, if you're not familiar with the Barefoot Contessa, she does write easy, four-ingredient recipes that take 30 minutes to do. They're usually complicated, full of ingredients (often expensive), and take lots of cook time. So, I think this is quite an accomplishment. Chad has enjoyed it as well. The kids...well, they don't really care.
I've learned SO much cooking through this cookbook. I've learned what annis, fennel, rutabagas, stilton, endives, wheatberries, brioche, and tabbouleh are. (Many times throughout this endeavor, I had to ask the grocers what the heck something was and where to find it). And I've created many amazing dishes, such as buffalo wings, herb-roasted lamb, rosemary polenta, corn pudding, roasted winter vegetables, rum raisin rice pudding, and homemade cheesecake.
Here are recipes to some of my favorites, available online for you to print and try yourself:
curried chicken salad (the first time Chad tasted this, he said, "Oh, Hope, I think I'm falling in love with you all over again)
chicken stew with biscuits (this one is so amazing because it calls for 2 sticks of butter!)
linguine with shrimp scampi (this one is really easy)
baked "chips" (even my kids like this one)
raspberry cheesecake (OMG! This is TRULY incredible!)
Happy cooking, friends!