Friday, March 23, 2012

Grown Up

Several years ago, I went through that time in life when it seemed that everyone was getting married.  Summers were busy traveling to friends' home towns to join in the merriment, and carefully saved money was spent on flights, hotels, shower gifts and bachelorette parties.

Now, we're in that new stage of life when everyone is having babies.  While we're moving past the giving of wedding gifts, the time for giving baby gifts has taken its place.  I can't walk through Target without stopping in the baby section to browse the newborn stuff and if I happen across something adorable, pause and think "now who do I know who has a baby that this would fit?"

Last summer, one of my oldest friends announced that she and her husband were pregnant!  She's certainly not the first (nor the last) friend of mine to have a baby, but she was the first one to go through pregnancy while living in close proximity to me!

Over the past several months, I've watched as her belly grew, listened as she shared the woes of pregnancy, and tried to wrap my brain around the fact that she was going to be a mommy!!!

Finally, on Sunday, her little one made his big debut!!!

Ben and I ventured to the hospital on Monday to see our dear friends and to meet their little bundle.

As we sat in the tiny hospital room with them and I held their baby in my arms, studying his precious face, his slender legs, and his baby toes, it suddenly hit me - we're grown up!  

I remember when we'd have sleepovers, talk about boys, chat for hours on the phone, and flip through the pages in our yearbooks deciding who our future husbands would be.

Now, suddenly, there I was, with someone that I've known for almost 20 years, holding her baby!

It got me thinking - I wonder if I'll ever truly be able to think of my childhood friends as adults.  When you've known someone since elementary school, do you ever stop picturing them as your friend in the hallway, passing notes and gossiping about what had just happened in class?

Is it possible to really ever think of them as a grown up, and not just someone playing house?

It's something I've struggled with over the last few years, as more and more of my friends have "grown up" before my very eyes.  I happily receive birth announcements, see pictures of their families on Facebook, watch as the kids grow like weeds, but I always seem to think of my friends as they were when we first met - perpetually 8, 10, 15, get the idea.

Perhaps I'm destined to be the old lady who sits around spouting off about "I remember when..." to anyone who will listen. 

In any case, it's a welcome challenge - I'm blessed to be in touch with so many friends from my youth and to be able to say to them "remember when..."

Me with Baby Jace!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring Sprung

Today is March 14th and it was in the 70's. 

Hello Spring!!!!

This time a few years ago, I tried to fly from California to Ohio for a quick visit and ended up getting stranded in Chicago because of a blizzard that dropped 3 feet of snow on most of the state.

As we made our transition from California to Ohio this past summer, I was a little worried about adjusting to a brutal winter in NE Ohio. 

But, I embraced Ben buying a snow plow, and nervously monitored the weather forecasts each day to see if there was snow headed our way. 

While it wasn't the winter that we were hoping for (purely for plowing purposes), I dare say that it was a blessing. 

I did grow up in Cleveland, but after 4 years in California, I don't know that I could have faked happiness with sub-zero temperatures, treacherous road conditions, and months on end without a hint of sunshine.

Fortunately, I don't have to fake anything.  Spring has sprung! 

While I know it's possible that winter might make one final appearance, I'm not holding my breath. 

Instead, I'm enjoying the sunny days, the warm evenings, the joy of driving with my windows down, the extra hour of daylight. 

I'm excited (and thankful) for Spring!!!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012


I had such plans for dinner tonight.  We were going to eat healthy, damn it!

Chicken stir-fry - lots of veggies, very little (if any) rice, and I was going to make it all myself (and by make it, I mean dump everything out of the frozen bag it came in and watch as it magically became dinner).

Ah, such is life - things don't always go to plan.

I had a haircut after work today, so rather than go to the grocery store near our apartment, I went to the one near the salon, which I am less familiar with. 

My quest began with the search for fresh chicken breast tenders - much easier to cut up and stir-fry.  They didn't have them - or at least if they did, I couldn't find them.  So, I grabbed the full chicken breasts and headed for the frozen vegetable section. 

It bears mentioning that I did walk through the produce area of the store when I first arrived.  But, seeing as I am officially missing the "cooking gene", I was only able to stare at the rows of tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, lettuce, and carrots, wishing that I was the kind of person who could buy those things and magically create a meal with them.

So, off to the frozen vegetables I went.

Already frustrated at not being able to find the right kind of chicken, I was even more irritated to find that the limited selection of frozen veggies did not include the stir-fry mix that I'd gotten so used to.

Annoyed and nearing the end of my rope, I called Ben for moral support.  After a few minutes of "Honey, I don't know what to tell you, just get whatever sounds good to you", I was inspired to make one of my old favorites, so I abandoned the veggies (and my ambitions of healthy eating) and headed towards the pasta aisle.

Once again, fate had other plans for me.  The Pasta-Roni that I like to mix with cooked shrimp was not there.  Sure, they had other flavors, but I wanted my sun-dried tomato flavor!

Refusing to give up, I regrouped and decided that vodka sauce with regular pasta and shrimp would be just as good.  You can imagine my disappointment when I found that there was no vodka sauce.

Utterly frustrated (and near tears), I put the superfluous chicken back in the meat section and trudged to the self check out to pay for the few items that I'd collected during my tour of the store.

From the car, and officially in tears, I called Ben to inform him that not only was I coming home a half hour later than I thought I was, but I was also coming home empty handed.

In the 10 minutes that it took me to get back to our neck of the woods, I decided that I'd just suck it up and go into our grocery store to get the damn stir-fry and make dinner!

Long story short (too late)...I managed to find the stir-fry mix, but in my haste to get the hell out of grocery store #2, I forgot to get more chicken (since I didn't end up buying it at the first store).

That pretty much sent me over the edge.  The damn chicken!

So, now that I'm done moping, I can tell you what I'm thankful for. 

I'm thankful for take-out.  On days that I simply can't put together a meal to save my life, I'm glad that there is a drawer full of take-out menus and coupons, I'm glad that there's a Chinese restaurant less than 5 minutes from our apartment, and I'm especially thankful for Ben, who was nice enough to go and get it for me!

Monday, March 5, 2012

An Expiration Date

Confession #1:  I'm afraid to throw out pictures.  Not necessarily pictures that I've taken (though I tend to keep those forever, for fear that as soon as I throw one out I'll think to myself "Don't I have a picture of that somewhere?"), but pictures that people send me - Christmas cards, pictures of their kids, birth announcements, etc.

Confession #2:  It's March and I'm still displaying all the Christmas cards that we received in December.  That's right...the Christmas cards that we received almost 3 months ago are still taped on our wall.  Ben has been asking for a few weeks if it's "about time to take them down". 

I promise that I'm not in denial about the fact that our Christmas card which included a picture of us at Lake Tahoe has long since been tossed aside by our dear friends (because they're normal).  I just feel bad throwing out pictures.  Maybe next year my friends can make it easier on me and just put a little "Please discard after January 1st" message on the backs of the pictures.

Should I save them?  Should I keep a file of Christmas card pictures?  Every year, should I add to it so that at some point we can look back at how our friends children have grown over the years?  Or, should I rip them down with abandon and not give them a second thought? 

I'm torn.  Part of me wants to have my wall back, but another part of me feels like it's disrespectful!

Don't even get me started on our refrigerator.  In addition to Jack's first pre-school picture (which is 3 years old), we're also sporting 2 years worth of Halloween pictures of our friends' kids, as well as the birth announcement of a friend's baby who is now almost a year old!

Confession #3:  I also have our extra Christmas cards from the last 3 years.  Why?  I have no idea.  I know that I'll never use them (especially because they say 2009, 2010, and 2011 on them).  But, they're pictures of me and Ben - I hate to throw them out...somehow it seems wasteful.

I think we've established that I'm insane (shocker).  Now I just need some input...what is the statue of limitations on keeping pictures and cards (yes, I also save greeting cards). 

Confession #4:  I feel bad throwing away greeting cards.  It's easier than throwing out pictures, but I still hit a mental block when it comes time to get rid of cards that someone sent me.  Let me put this into perspective.  While we were packing up our kitchen before our move last summer, I spent 10 minutes going through all the cards that we'd received in the time we'd lived in our house (which was over 2 years).  Birthday cards, anniversary cards, "just because" cards, Valentine's Day cards...we had a little pile of them in our kitchen. 

What is the expiration date on pictures?  Help!