Happy birthday, Angie!

The other birthday I couldn’t let go undocumented – Angie’s!

A few weekends before we moved, Angie celebrated her birthday!  IMG_4766

We celebrated at the DC beer fest, which was a bar crawl.  Initially some wanted to make it through all 26!  We did 9…

IMG_4742Angie is a beer girl.  I’m not, but I wanted to celebrate her appropriately so I did beer.  I’m glad I did.  Some of my favorite memories of Angie involve beer (which is ironic because we initially became friends due to the fact that we were college freshman who didn’t drink).  Frat parties and sorority socials mainly, and these memories are truly some of the very best.  We have this fantastic story from senior year involving beer, DC, my green blazer, our friend Nina, and a libertarian that I made out with on a dance floor who drove us home in a pick up truck (he was also the bouncer/DJ, totally sober, and dropped all us girls off together) (sorry Sean and Wes).  And now we are mothers.

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I’m pretty sure I’ve reflected on this before, but it’s so strange to have a child who I know will think I am the weirdest, most uncool person to ever walk the face of the earth on day.  (Right now I’m still pretty cool and important.)  Who will think I only started to exist once he arrived, and that I couldn’t possibly have a life before him.  I am not the coolest, but I had some good moments.  Especially with Angie.

We had dinner at some point and two Ukrainian men (I think they were Ukrainian) somehow recognized we were celebrating something.  They helped us mark the occasion by singing happy birthday to her in Ukrainian.  It was pretty funny that they broke out into this song in the middle of the dining room, but they were actually pretty good.

So thanks for adding to my bucket of memories involving you and beer, Ang.  Hope this year is one of the best yet.

Get yourself a veteran mom friend

You know my friend Angie?  She pops up from time to time here.  She’s a teacher and for most of the summer we figured out half way points for playdates.  This past Friday was our last, and I’m totally bummed about it.  Most importantly because I love Angie as a person that I have known since college, but also because as a first time mom having a veteran mom friend that you trust and are close with is completely critical.  Angie has helped me to come to terms with how I feed my baby, to understand that yes you should go to the emergency room right now for this, to talk out feelings about all the changes motherhood brings, to help me realize that classes for 1 year olds aren’t necessary (and especially not French lessons! (mothers are crazy)), and a whole lot more.  So if you haven’t already, get yourself a veteran mom friend and ask her questions.

Anyway, we went to Tyson’s Corner this past Friday.  I hate Tyson’s Corner, but I was very happy that Angie knew about a playground outside Lord & Taylor with a Shake Shack right next door.

IMG_4329 (1) All of our boys!  Angie’s boys are very adorable, very happy, and very sweet.

IMG_4334 IMG_4335Please don’t misunderstand.  I love Wes.  I love that Wes is a big kid.  I don’t want to come across as though I’m making fun of him.  I am not.  I love those chunky thighs. That being said, a little comparison pic never hurt anyone (well, it almost hurt Robbie, he wasn’t really happy with me.)  Robbie is 19 or 20 months, and sweet baby Wesley is basically his same size at just a few days before 10.

IMG_4336Let’s not forget about Reed!  Reed is such a great kid.  So helpful and great at sharing.

IMG_4337It’s so cute when babies climb on large Jenga blocks, isn’t it?  No!  Babies climbing Jenga blocks is no good at all.  As I was thinking what a cute picture and not really paying attention to what was happening, Wes nearly face planted into the concrete.  I saved him by seconds.  Not one of my finer moments in motherhood.

IMG_4341 IMG_4343 IMG_4353We all stopped for a Shake Shack lunch and I thought it was unfair that I had a burger and fries and Wes had a egg, so he got a taste of his first French fry!  Although he did sit in direct sunlight all lunch so by the end of it he was bright red.  I had applied sunscreen, but I was convinced he was sunburned for life as we were leaving.  Between that and the almost face plant over Jenga blocks, I felt like I’d failed at motherhood that day.  Thanks for talking me down from that, Angie.  Thanks for making the time to hang out with us this summer.  And thanks for being the veteran mom friends who helps me deal with my mom guilt and understand that it’s all okay.

(For the record, I had zero mom guilt about that French fry.  French fries are fact of life and should be embraced!)

Tuna tartar, oysters, and bubbles!

Sean’s parents were in town last week and we took full advantage with lots of dates.  Three in one week!  And on two occasions I was able to realize three food fantasies from when I was pregnant.  (I shared them all with you at week 23.)  Tuna tartar, oysters, and bubbles!

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One morning in October or November I made a sad attempt at a poached egg, so I think that’s next on my list.

I loved being pregnant, but it’s nice to be rid of those food restrictions!

Date night

Sean and I went on a date!  A real, live date!  Without a baby!  With other adults!  Sean’s a huge KU basketball fan (remember).  It’s still pre-conference play and KU was in town playing Georgetown earlier this month.  A Georgetown alum and friend of Sean’s offered us the ability to get tickets through the Georgetown alumni ticket website/program.  I looked forward to this all week.  Even though it was a basketball game I was going to wear a dress!  I hadn’t put on a dress in all of the six weeks (at that point) since Wes was born!  We were going to get drinks, out like our pre-baby selves!  Getting out of the house with Sean was going to be awesome!

Before we talk about this date let’s quickly reflect on how odd it is that I’m no longer the babysitter and am now the mother giving instructions on things like feedings and bedtime routines and how to work the remotes and here’s the number for our pediatrician and all of that.  And that we now say things like “sorry we’re late, the babysitter hit traffic.”  It’s odd.

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But at least I was able to snap this really cute picture while we waited for that babysitter stuck in traffic.

I don’t know what the right word is for this, it’s not irony, but I feel like it’s something that two new parents spent their first date night right next to the student section at this basketball game.  While we were in the alumni section, it was basically an extension of the student section.  We stood the whole time.  I found it amusing.

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I can’t tell you anything about what happened during this game.  I have no recollection of whether KU won or lost.  I know that Sean occasionally made a comment to me.  I did my best to respond like I knew what was happening in this game.  I was so preoccupied.  Would the babysitter text me pictures?  How had bedtime gone?  Did Wes eat everything?  Did he spit up?  Did he burp?  Was he being fussy for her or good?  Would he like how she put him to bed better than me and then never go to bed for me again?  Should I text her?  Should I see how things are going?  I watched the clock more to understand where Wes and his babysitter were in their nightly routine than to understand where we were in the basketball game.  I checked my phone thinking maybe she would update me instead of me having to ask her.  She didn’t.  By some miracle I made it the whole night without checking in.  It took me the whole game, but it finally occurred to me that what I was doing made date night almost pointless.  What good is getting out of the house and away from the kids with your husband only to worry about the kids and ignore your husband the whole time?  That doesn’t allow you to be present and focusing on your relationship.  In some ways, duh.  But it was not obvious in the midst of all my curiosity about Wes and his babysitter. I’m glad our first date night was spent at a sporting event so I could work all this out.  Sean had no idea I wasn’t focusing on the game until we talked about it after.  He had no idea that I wasn’t in the moment with him.  Had we gone out to dinner it maybe wouldn’t have been so successful a date as I wondered about Wes and couldn’t carry on a conversation with Sean.  I will probably worry and wonder about Wes during our next date night too.  Being aware of the problem is half the battle, right?  And now that I’m aware of the problem I’m going to try really hard to worry less and less about Wes during date night.

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Pork Belly! & a Party

This past Saturday we attended the annual holiday potluck of one of our friends.  She hosts every year and Sean, being the amazing chef he is, brings the meat.  He always does a wonderful job and considering all the diet needs of the group he always makes sure everyone is included somehow in the protein.  This year Sean cooked up pork belly with a side of red snapper.  Delicious!  (He’s out of town right now, but when he gets back I’ll ask him if we can link the recipe if you’re curious.)Pork Belly 003Pork Belly 007

Yes, we had to break into a Christmas present for this dish.  Sorry we sneaked it in early, Parents, but at least you know we really needed that roasting pan!  It’s awesome!Pork Belly 008

You’re always your harshest critic, aren’t you?  Sean had a little wishlist of things he’d have done differently or things he wanted to work out better, but the diners around the table sure did love it.  Way high praise.  The snapper was good too, but I think the pork stole the show.photo

New this year was a Secret Santa gift exchange, which turned out to be fun.  Sean walked away with a new Christmas bow tie (!) and I with a set of olive oil-based dippers.  And as I write this I realized I missed an opportunity with Sean out of town to eat a dinner of bread and dippers last night.  I love dipping.  Well, I’m confident this opportunity will arise again and I will get my very nutritious dinner of bread and dips.photo 1All in all a very fun night with a great group of people.

Office Holiday Parties Round 2

photo 3Our last and final office party was this past Friday, and it was at the Museum of Natural History.  A great space for a holiday party because of all the interesting exhibits.  I haven’t been to this museum in a long time and boy has it changed!

photo 2This is me as a cave woman.  As Sean said, we’re pretty sure they didn’t have lipstick back then.  Still fun.  Sean and I spent a lot of time in the exhibits.  photo 1Maybe borderline too much time in the exhibits.

In high school I was voted most friendly, but I heard rumors that I was also a top contender for most shy.  So while that sounds a little ridiculous that one person could be in the running for both of those categories, it’s an accurate depiction of me.  I really try to be friendly and go through all these little rituals to pump myself up for social situations, but it doesn’t always work out the way I want.  Friday was a prime example of this.  I don’t have a group at work, but here are plenty of people that I interact with.  This wasn’t enough to carry me through.  We certainly said hello to the colleagues on my team, but there a lot of time spent as just the two of us.  It wasn’t a total fail since we did speak with my colleagues, but it wasn’t a great success either.  It makes me wish I were consistently more confident in social situations.  But at least we’re done with parties like this for the year!photo 4Sean’s office is about two blocks up on the left.

Office Holiday Parties Round 1

Sean’s firm’s holiday party was this past Saturday, and it was the first of two office holiday parties we’ll attend this month.  Although this is our fourth Christmas as a couple, it’s only the second time we’ve been able to attend his firm’s holiday party together. Every year they’ve hosted a holiday party (well, at least as long as Sean can remember) it’s been at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and this year was no exception.  It’s really a lovely space, but sometimes I wonder if they’ll ever host the party somewhere else.photo 1photo 5

We met up with some friends before heading over to the event, and I learned that club soda with lime is pretty fantastic and a much more festive drink than just plain water.  The event itself was filled with small bites, good conversations with friends, and the opportunity to tour the exhibit space, which I really appreciate.photo 4

For a few years now, instead of buying a dress or wearing a dress I already own to events like this, I’ve rented a dress from Rent the Runway.  It’s a fabulous idea.  Designer dresses for much less that you borrow for a short period of time.  As soon as Sean forwarded the save the date in October I had my dress for the evening picked out and reserved.  But it didn’t come last Friday as expected and customer service wasn’t available until Monday.  I was so bummed!  I dug through my closet and found a dress I’ve probably worn once four years ago.  When you know something is old it’s sometimes hard to realize that no one else will.  I bought a necklace at Target Saturday morning to help make the outfit feel new.  I ended up so happy in the dress and was even complimented!  I’m disappointed in Rent the Runway but really glad I had the opportunity to appreciate again something I already own.  So much so that I’ll wear the same exact outfit to my firm’s holiday party on Friday.photo 3

We ended up leaving a little early but weren’t tired when we got home at 11:00.  So we made some popcorn to supplement the small bites from earlier, and snuggled up to watch some Jeopardy and SNL.  We had lots of fun at the party, but it was the perfect ending to our night.

Book of Mormon

Everyone’s buzzing about the Book of Mormon, that new musical from the creators of South Park.  It’s won nine Tonys.  So many of our friends have or will see it by the end of the summer.  Everyone’s talking about how great it is.  It came up during our beach weekend.  Our companions who had seen it loved it and were surprised that the DC audience didn’t give it a standing ovation.  Back in May Sean and I secured tickets to the show and on Saturday we finally made our way to the Kennedy Center to see what everyone is talking about.
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There were some funny moments.  There were pop culture references and a play within the musical that got a giggle out of me.  Overall, we didn’t understand what all that buzz was about.  We went with some of Sean’s friends and colleagues and I was happy to find that most of the group felt the same way.  I think we were all expecting to laugh for all or most of the show.  Maybe some people do but we didn’t.

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I didn’t discuss this with the larger group, but I didn’t understand the writer’s point.  Why are we poking fun at Mormons?  Just because we can?  Why?  I probably should have been more prepared for this considering these writers are responsible for South Park.  But I’ve seen maybe two episodes of South Park.  That show just wasn’t my thing.

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Once we were home, Sean and I also agreed that we missed traditional musicals.  Where are the Olivers, the My Fair Ladys, the Les Miss?

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I’m glad we saw it since everyone is talking about it, and I’m sure we would have felt like we missed out on something if we didn’t go.

On another note, this was Sean’s first time seeing a show at the Kennedy Center!  Hard to believe since he’s been in the area for a while and loves musicals, shows, and the symphony.  I’m glad he finally got to see something in the space, but we’ll have to go back for a symphony or something more our style.

The Art (& Anxiety) of Expressing Gratitude

In the blogs and magazines I frequently read a reoccuring topic is the hostess gift and how to shake it up.  A traditional bottle of wine is lovely, of course, but every now then it’s nice to give a host or hostess something a little different.  A few partners in Sean’s practice area are hosting the rest of the group at their beach houses this upcoming weekend and soon after we received the invite I started to think about how to shake up our hostess gifts.

Initially I thought I would arrange flowers.  I’ve taken two floral arranging classes this summer and was happy with the result both times.

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In both classes, my instructor emphasized the importanace of having a flower recipe to map out the number of flowers and greens needed along with an idea of where the stems should be placed within the vase.  For my hostess gifts I wanted to use a pitcher as a vase.  But how would I replicate the recipe for a short vase (left picture) or the recipe where flowers are poked into foam (right) into a pitcher?  Expressing our gratitude became stressful as I questioned how to make it work, how to keep the flowers vibrant on the 2+ hour car ride, and whether we were giving enough of a gift to show our thanks.  Providing shelter, food, and a good time to a whole department of people and their families is quite a bit of effort.  Are flowers in a pitcher an adequate toke of appreciation?

Looking for something shaken yet appropriate for such effort, I scanned the internet.  A dangerous game.  This woman baked cherry pound cake to include with a gift of cut flowers. Lovely.  A pinterest search brought me to cookies which brough me to an internet search of beach themed baked goods which brought me to these adorable cookies!

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After much debate (in my head) and a few emails seeking the advice of my mother and friend, it was settled.  Beach themed sugar cookies, at least in my mind, seemed more appropriate.  More effort on my part to thank them for their’s, and something personal with the beach theme.  Plus, sugar cookies are a Christmas staple.  They can’t be that hard because everybody’s doing it.  They are hard.  Maybe I made my dough incorrectly or maybe it was because our air conditioner was on the fritz making the dough soften so quickly, but just the first step of cutting out the cookies, getting clean edges, and getting them to the cookie sheet was so difficult.  I had had a bad day on Monday.  I needed a victory and foolishly thought baking these cookies would be it.  I was wrong.  I cried.  Poor Sean.  He really wasn’t expecting me react in this way.  But he handled it so well.  He Googled and suggested. With his calm and help I got through it and made some adorable cookies of my own.

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I’m mostly happy with they way they turned out and am trying not to be too hard on myself.  But I know where the flaws are, and I’m concerned that the air conditioning problem caused them to get a little stale and chewy.  It’s done now and here’s hoping they are well received as hostess gifts.  Despite the fact that this was a bit more of a project than I anticipated, I’m excited to make Christmas cookies now!  Christmas in July, anyone?  Maybe I can make that next week’s project.  (Just kidding, Sean.)

Hey there cutes, put on your dancin’ boots

Taking dance lessons to prepare for our wedding was one of our best decisions. We have Sean to thank for this as it was fully his idea. We signed up for 11 lessons.  During all those sessions our instructor gave us tools to dance to any song, not just the one we had picked for our first dance. We’ve used these skills on our honeymoon, at weddings, holiday parties, and sometimes just in our living room.  We look forward to dancing and it’s so fun to know what we’re doing together. That’s why we excitedly accepted when a friend of mine invited Sean and me to the Sinatra Soiree with she and her husband.

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This is the Soiree’s 21st year, but Sean and I had neither heard nor been to the event before.  It’s held in the National Building Museum.  This was my frist time to this museum and it is awesome inside!

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Turns out we weren’t quite the demographic they were aiming for…and by that I mean we were a bit old.  Women’s tickets were $20 less than the men’s, which is very telling about the point of the event.  For the music they switched between a live swing band and 90’s music.  (This seemed odd to me at the time and as I’m writing this I understand now why they played 90’s music…if you’re a 22 year old that’s the music of your elementary school years.  80’s music, the music I’m used to at events like this, is not so relevant to you.  Oh.)  We were still able to get out on the dance floor  a few times.  When we did we were able to dance in our shoes!  This is a big deal for us since we learned to dance in socks and even on our wedding day had to remove our shoes for our first dance because it was completely no good otherwise.

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This was our first double date with my friend, Danielle, and her husband, Josh.  We really enjoyed our time with them and will definitely get together again.  Already in the works is a golf outing for the men, high tea for Danielle and me, and a game night for the four of us!  I’m excited just thinking about it!