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I have a 14 month old tiny toddler She is amazing, wonderful, fun, and has been a very easy baby. I can’t take credit for her being easy, we just got lucky, but I’d like to think not being stressed out because we felt well prepared have helped.

messy livingroom baby stuff

This is as messy as I ever let the living room get. Otherwise I’d go BONKERS!

Here are some items that have helped us feel like prepared, confident new parents. I’ll try to list them in age order of when they’re most useful :)

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Sorry I’ve been quiet on the blog-o-sphere for so long. Busy + happy = no time to mope around and blog. Ben and I have been doing a lot of local exploring lately with friends, which means I’m shy about bringing my camera along and then using it when I do bring it and posts without photos are just dull.

Anyhow, I just wanted to let any remaining readers know that I haven’t abandoned you, I’ve just been busy. Also, I’m tired and cranky today and that seems to be my trigger to blog!

Why am I tired and cranky? The fire alarm in our apartment building went off THREE TIMES yesterday. Once at 3:30 PM (no big deal, we went for a walk). Then again at 11:10 PM (thankfully we were running late with the whole bed time thing and hadn’t gotten in the shower yet, though normally one of us would be all clean and brushing their teeth while the other showered right then. Than again at 12:45 AM this morning. BLECH! Apparently there is some sort of pressure issue with the sprinkler system in the parking deck next to/attached to our building (not the first time this has happened) and it was so drastic that it set off the alarm for the apartment building too!

What I’m wondering is that there are over 100 units in our building, most of which are 2 bedrooms, where were all those people!? There were about 40 people milling around outside the building for the afternoon alarm, then maybe 20 for the 11:10 PM alarm, and then only about a dozen people milling around the front door for the 12:45 AM alarm. Did people sleep through it? HOW!? Did they stay inside? WHY?! What kind of person ignores a fucking fire alarm and stays inside? I knew there was a 99% chance of it being a false alarm, but I still put on a coat, boots, hat, mittens, and grabbed my nook HD (it’s an awesome little Android tablet I bought myself for hannukah with leftover birthday money), cell phone, and purse each time. If I’d actually smelled smoke I may have made the stupid choice to grab a few choice items (change of clothes, meds, laptop, ketubah, jewelry, and viola). But the hallway was cool, smelled like curry (not usual in our building), and no one seemed panicked.

I suppose I can save this post from being whine-fest 2014 by summing up some of the awesome things we’ve done over the past few months, you can see why I say we’ve been busy:

  • Ben was on partial leave due to the shutdown (only allowed to work 5 hours/week “to preserve property”)
  • Becca came to visit from Calgary! They went and did touristy things and made me some awesome dinners while I continued to adjust to my new job
  • Visited the Maryland Renaissance Festival, where we met up with some friends to see an organ recital in the woods
  • Attended a CU alumni event focusing on the NASA/CU collaboration on MAVEN
  • Saw CAVALIA at the National Harbor with my dad and got a VIP tour of the stables after the show
  • Hosted a cooking party where we cooked fondue bread pudding in a pumpkin with vegan “bacon,” yum!

baked pumpkin

  • Visited the White House for the Fall Garden Tour (post forthcoming)
  • attended the National Kidney Foundation masquerade gala (sans masks, but with peacock feathers!)

Kidney Foundation Gala photo

  • watched a rocket launch from Wallops Island Spaceport from the roof of our apartment building
  • Cooked a vegetarian Thanksgiving feast (served with a side of turkey, for those who wanted it) at my parents house for my dad, my brothers, and a friend of ours
  • Went shopping for some very specific good deals on Black Friday, then stopped by my parents house to eat leftovers for lunch and finish my shopping online (new carry-on suitcases, nook HD and cover, etc.)
  • Hosted a friend for Shabbat Thanksgiving to help sooth her nerves before arguing before the Supreme Court
  • Attended a last-night-of-Hannukah holiday potluck (yum!)
  • Attended and helped deep fried a kosher turkey at “Friendsgivikkah” pot-luck feast
  • Attended my office holiday party and Secret Santa gift swap at a nice steak restaurant downtown (we each had a beautiful, huge, salmon steak)
  • Went out for pre-Christmas Dim Sum and a movie [the Hobbit, part 2 of 3] with my family (even Gramma came!)
  • Attended Ben’s uncle and family’s holiday party
  • Spent a whole day visiting the Newseum
  • Attended a potluck New Years Eve party at a friend’s apartment building’s party room downtown
  • Spent a whole day cooking party with Andrea and company preparing a Turcchetta with a sues-vide machine and then deep frying it and serving it with other modern-American Thanksgiving fare
  • Had pizza with an old friend and her family in McLean and then went to see the Capitol Steps show at the community center

What else…. My weight loss goal is going SLOOWLY, but mostly steadily down. It’s frustrating when you keep weighing in at -0.4 lbs per week, but then I realize that that adds up to almost -2 lbs/month, and that .4 lbs is just shy of two sticks of butter (eww!). Slow and steady supposedly stays off more easily and more permanently than binge dieting, but sometimes I just want to fool the scale and be done with all this meticulous attention to my food intake and exercise-earned flex points allowance. Re-learning proper portion and teaching myself to have self control and around tasty foods is HARD. F’ing cookies, salt water taffy, home made caramels, and other holiday treats. I’m just grateful that I’m allergic to most traditional treats (no nuts, peanuts, chocolate, or berries, plus lots of other things too). My allergies are a good reason not to try something and great and easy excuse as to why I’m not eating something at parties. SELTZER WATER IS MY FRIEND, but then I have to occasional be seen with an alcoholic beverage or folks start to stare and my mid-section (which is still kinda plumpy, but not in a baby-filled way, just a food-baby way).

Please remind me to post about the White House tour if I forget by the end of the week!

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The Brooklyn Bridge, seen from Manhattan, New ...

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What a great trip! I got my hair cut on Wednesday morning in downtown Denver, took the bus home, then watched some TV and ate lunch before heading out to the airport where I had a GREAT smoothie. (Seriously, you have to try Jamba Juice’s new-ish Apple n’ Greens, yum!)

I was really lucky to make every connection smoothly throughout my entire trip. Once I got to LGA I got my (gate checked) bag and went out to look for the “guy in the green shirt” to catch the Airporter shuttle to downtown. Then I bought my first of two or three $10 fare cards and hopped on the subway to Brooklyn! I didn’t get to Andrea’s apartment until 8:45 (I’d hoped to get there about 45 minutes earlier), and then we went to her awesome little local Italian place a few blocks away. I’ve learned my lesson, Andrea, I will always order the special. Mmmm, her creamy tuna pasta was a bazillion times better than my home made whole wheat pasta with fall veggies (though mine tasted better reheated the next day).

Thursday morning I woke up with Andrea at 8 in the morning and cleaned her apartment for her after she left for work at 8:45. An hour later I was back underground, taking the subway to Park Slope, to pick up Ben’s hannukah present! We ordered 25-30 lbs of frozen, organic, pasture raised, kosher meat from Grow and Behold. I wasn’t able to arrange for it to be dropped off at Andrea’s house (scheduling issues), so I picked it up from Naf and Anna’s house/HQ. We chatted a little about the Colorado Hazon Mini-Conference, and then I was on my way back to Andrea’s apartment to change into more appropriate city clothes and go wandering in Manhattan.

Thank goodness for my Freezer Tote, because without it, that meat would have been a goner. Seriously. I locked myself out of the apartment! I grabbed TWO front door keys and no apartment key. Doh!

So, I left the tote bag of rock hard, frozen meat in the hall, just outside Andrea’s door and called around to see who wanted to meet up for lunch. My cousin MiMi, who works for Ted Baker, met me at her store in the Meat Packing District and then took me out for lunch in Chelsea Market. Mmmm, sushi. Thanks, Tanta Sara, for paying for us!

Apartments facing Central Park in midtown Manh...

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After lunch I went back to Midtown and met Andrea in the lobby of her office to get her set of apartment keys and then WALKED 23 blocks to Bloomingdales, where I tried on EVERY SHOE in the girls shoe department that came in my size (4.5 kids). I bought a pair Michael Kors’ walking shoes for $16! (Plus $14 for Dr. Scholl’s inserts because they didn’t have an arch and my feet got REALLY tired the next day.)

I didn’t get to meet up with Nigel, from Hazon, because we never did get in touch with each other and I was paranoid about getting swept up with the protesters on Wall Street.

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, I did have my point and shoot camera in my purse ALL WEEKEND and 100% forgot about it because I kept lamenting not having brought my big camera. I am a dope.

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New York, New York, the place so great they named it twice!

My cousin, Julia, is having a fancy-pants bat mitzvah party in SoHo and who am I to turn down an invite to a fancy-pants party! I am so looking forward to going to NY, visiting Andrea (one of my best friends, whom we are staying with in Brooklyn), and getting all dressed up. What I’m not looking forward to is being fed lots of meat (though Ben is), and seeing my entire family. They can be quite judgy, gossipy, and rude when they are all together and I often get caught in the middle, as a supposedly neutral party who gets to hear everyone vent their stuff. It often makes me want to run away (which I’ve already done, to Colorado) or just hide in a drink (which I’m not so good at). Maybe, there will be an awesome DJ at this party and I can just hide on the dance floor. Hopefully it won’t be too bad, we’re minimizing our family exposure to only 2 of the 4 events over the weekend. We’re skipping kabbalat shabbat dinner and Sunday morning bunch to spend more time with Andrea before she moves to LONDON to (finally) live with her husband (who has been living there since about 5 months before their wedding last March).

Thursday, I’m going to pick up my Grow and Behold order of kosher, organic, pastured meat for Thanksgiving, and as Ben’s Hannukah present. I’m going to also try and stop by the Hazon office and see the #OccupyWallstreet folks. I might visit Ground Zero, but I’m not sure. 9/11 was pretty intense for me, having so much family living and working in NYC and family friends working at the Pentagon. I’m not sure I want to go by myself because I’m afraid I’ll break down and I don’t want to have strangers hugging me when I’m so broken down. I’m not sure what Andrea’s planning for dinner. But I’m sure it will be great. Ben’s flying in late Thursday night.

Friday, Ben and I are meeting my friend Jennifer for breakfast (here or for donuts) and then spend the day at the Met. He’s never been to the Egypt room and didn’t know who William is!

Saturday, the bat mitzvah is in the AM at B’nai Jeshurun and there will be a big party at a hotel in SoHo in the evening. In the afternoon, the plan is that my dad will take us to the Museum of Natural History.

I think I’m going to need to buy a 7-day metro pass instead of paying as I go. I’m going to be going all over Manhattan and Brooklyn!

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I started a new job this week, as a receptionist. I’m not sure what receptionists DO other than answer phones and sign for packages. Can someone illuminate me? I’ve spent the past week meeting some great people and being bored out of my gourd!

The good thing about being employed is that I’m sleeping like a baby. Seriously. I am SO glad that the time changed over the weekend or I would have been SCREWED trying to catch the 7:18 bus every day, but so far so good. I’ve had no trouble waking up at 6:15 every morning because I’ve been going to bed around 10:30 PM (about 90 minutes earlier that I used to, according to the clock, but just 30 minutes earlier in reality). Surprisingly, that 1/2 hour makes a HUGE difference. I’d like to go to bed earlier, but then I’d get up earlier and then I’d never see Ben because he wakes up just as I’m leaving. Lucky bastard. I guess I had my bouts of unemployment where I got to sleep in too, so I can’t be TOO upset.

What else….. the new H&M opened in Denver yesterday. It was SO CROWDED, like IKEA crowded. I got gifts for friends that were opening-day specials. I got 2 sweaters for myself, but I’m going to return one of them because in retrospect it is too small. I have a shopping problem. Last weekend I went to the Nordstrom 1/2 yearly sale and spent WAY too much money on things that I’m going to return, well at least the most expensive of them.

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I was so excited to can caramelized onions and gingered carrots (made separately, canned at the same time) tomorrow that I neglected to read all the way to the bottom of the recipe instructions before going to the farmers market this evening. Boo.

The good news is that I read the recipe BEFORE Ben started slicing onions because we learned that we’d need a pressure canner! Oops. We don’t have one of those, or even the space to store one if we did. Well, if we did I might de-throne the meat slow cooker, which we really only use for Thanksgiving, and hide it somewhere outside of the kitchen. I’m 99% certain that I’d use a pressure canner at least 3x more than our jumbo slow cooker (good for when we need it, awful space-sucker when we don’t).

Also, today was the last Wednesday night Farmers Market for the year. Sad. I stocked up on lots of stuff for the winter: organic parsley (to mince and freeze), organic butternut squash for Friday night, local organic Gala apples, a big bag of local popping corn, and fresh whole wheat tortillas (also to freeze).

Anyone out there in the blog-o-sphere have any ideas on preserving 2-5 lbs of carrots WITHOUT a pressure canner?

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I had an interview on Friday afternoon for a job as an admin/Jr. paralegal at a firm in Denver who represents HOAs and conveniences. I think that the interview went well, but I also know that I’m the youngest/lest qualified candidate who’s being interviewed for the position. If I get the job, it’s based on my asked for the least amount of money and my sparking personality; possibly based on my mold-ability too.

Having a job would be great. I’m getting kinda bored hanging out with myself. Thankful, I’ve cashed in 3 of my 10 birthday credits from Ben (he gave me a home made gift certificate for 10 dance or other athletic classes) and he bought me another Groupon (seeing a theme?) for 3 pole dance classes at Boulder Spirals. I’m also going to buy a book of local bus passes this weekend and start going to a free yoga class being offered at the university on Wednesday evenings (5:30-7). Maybe I’ll meet other friends! I met Miri at a belly dancing class at the university rec center and neither of us were students!

What else am I doing to keep busy? Lisa and I spent most of Friday getting to and going to the new IKEA before my interview (I got there right on time, 10 minutes before I was due). I did very well and only bought what Ben and I had discussed, a summer weight comforter (so I don’t keep alternatively turning down the temp or throwing off the blankets in a sweaty fit in my sleep), a bold colored duvet cover (ours is quite faded after 4 years of biweekly washings), and some place mats (need to swap the colorful ones I got for the metallic ones we can’t really afford) because I’m tired of ironing the nice cotton ones my mom got us from Vietnam.

I need a job to support my shopping/ingredient buying/craft supply hoarding habits.

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