Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Update on My 31 Things in My 31st Year List

Last year, with my 31st birthday looming, I wrote a "31 Things in My 31st Year List" on this blog.  Here's the follow-up to that list--let's see how I did: (updates on accomplishments are in green next to the original goals)

31 Things…
  1. Become more aware of what I eat, where it comes from, and how it affects my health. (Read Eating Animals).   I did read Eating Animals, along with The Omnivores Dilemma, and I saw a couple movies too-they all made me want to stop eating meat, (at least factory-farm produced meat), which I did for a few months...until I got pregnant and was craving meat... 
  1. Run at least 5 races (5K or 8K). (The next one will be the Race for the Place 5K to benefit St. Lawrence Place, February 6th).  I ran the Race for the Place 5K, the St. Patty's Day 5K, the Get in the Pink 5K, and the Crawdaddy Dash 5K...then I got pregnant, so that was the end of racing season for me...I almost made it to 5 races!
  1. Video tape my grandmother cooking some of her best dishes, (the ones she can’t write down the recipe for since she ‘just throws some things together’).  I am actually scheduled to do this on Saturday--we are making biscuits from scratch and Bierocks-- a German meal that my family LOVES, and only she knows how to make!
  1. Video tape my sister giving birth to her second baby…(no NatGeo shots, just document the event).  Didn't get to do this because her 2nd baby, Taylor, came way to quickly--I wasn't even at the hospital yet!
  1. Create something new at least once a month—(sew something, write something, cook something, make something).  Don't know for sure that I fulfilled this goal every month, but here are some examples of things I did "create" this year: my first-ever knitted scarf, currently working on a knitted baby blanket, a baby!, new cookie recipes, took some pictures with my new Holga camera, made a Gingerbread house with my nephew...
  1. Take a road trip to Washington, DC. (Been wanting to go back for a couple years and just haven’t gotten around to it; Aunt LeAnn, here we come!)  This did not happen, and I'm sorry it didn't before I got pregnant, but we will still make it to DC soon, I hope!
  1. Call friends who live out of town; at least one a month.  Again, probably did not happen...I am really bad at calling friends (hence the goal)...
  1. Get a pedicure at least every 6 weeks; the money saved by not doing so is not worth the embarrassing-looking toes.  I think this one was accomplished.  I have nicely pedicured toes right now :)
  1. Volunteer somewhere new. I am thinking of getting a Meals on Wheels delivery route.  I did get a Meals on Wheels Delivery route, and I love it--I see the same people each month, and it is so rewarding!
  1. Train my dogs to walk civilly on leashes. And then take them on regular walks.  James and I started working on this last week--a work in progress, for sure!
  1. Wear sunscreen more vigilantly. (Can’t promise I will not sunbathe, but I’ll at least wear SPF 15 when I do).  I have been very vigilant about sunscreen, especially since I got pregnant.
  1. Start a new book club—yay!  Well, it started, and then fizzled...made some great new friends through the book club though!  Maybe we'll start it back again!?
  1. Entertain people at our house at least once a month; whether it be a small dinner party or a party party…it just makes me happy.  Not sure if we accomplished once a month, (being pregnant makes entertaining not seem so appealing, especially in the first few months for me)...but, we did have at least 3 parties at our house and a few smaller dinner parties as well.
  1. Frequent the Columbia farmer’s markets more often—the State farmer’s market and the All Local one.  I went to the Local Farmer's Market almost religiously until I got it!
  1. Read East of Eden; a classic, and one highly recommended recently by a friend.  Still haven't finished, but it's still on my bedside table; about halfway finished...
  1. Forgive myself and move on for not being able to finish Atlas ShruggedDone.
  1. Figure out how to re-design the look of my blog and do it.  Done.
  1. Learn to bake bread.  Done--definitely not perfected, but another work-in-progress.
Image via here
  1. Make something using the immersion blender that we registered for and received for a wedding present.  I made a cauliflower/almond soup--it was pretty good :)
  1. Organize my recipes.  Halfway done.
  1. Take more pictures.  Done--with Holga and digital camera.  And now we have a new Zumi video camera which I love!
  1. Save up for our next big vacation…which will hopefully be somewhere in Central America, Europe, or back to the West Coast…  Not done--instead, our current savings will go into a 529-College Savings Plan for baby Jones.  We did get to go to my friend Annie's wedding in Frisco, CO this summer though--that was a fun vacation!
  1. Buy more fresh flowers.  I bought some from the All Local Market back when I was going regularly...need to start doing this again!
    Image via here
  1. Write more.  I have been writing in a journal to the baby--my thoughts and feelings since I've been pregnant, that I'll someday share with him.
  1. Do something spiritual at least once a week.  Working on it--sobriety and pregnancy have increased my time for prayer.
  1. Eat more fresh fruit and veggies.  Done--except the 3 months at the beginning of the pregnancy when I couldn't even look at a veggie.
  1. Plant (and keep up) an amazing spring/summer garden.  Done.  Mostly due to my husband's diligent work.
  1. Call my grandmother at least once a week to hang out.  Done.  We had lots of fun dinners and chats--this weekend we'll cook :)
  1. Learn to knit.  Done--thanks to Lara Winburn!
  1. Patronize local art, theater, restaurants, music, etc as much as possible.(The Nickelodeon, Columbia Museum of Art, Trustus Theater, etc...)  Done.  I went to LOTS of movies at The Nick, and we saw Rent and Reasons to Be Pretty at Trustus.  We also got a 8-ticket package at Trustus for the upcoming season for Christmas :)
  1. Forgive myself if I don’t accomplish all of these things this year :)  Done. 
So, as you can see, most of my goals were accomplished.  Obviously, getting knocked up put a crimp in some plans, and changed some things, but all-in-all I feel it was a very accomplished year for me.  Bring on 32!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Rush

I am so ready for Christmas this year!  All of my shopping is complete as of today.  Jealous?

Since I'm finished, I thought maybe I'd help out some of you who may not be...some of my favorite last-minute gifts to be found in Columbia:

1) Go to the All Local Farmer's Holiday Market TODAY!  4-7 PM, 711 Whaley Street.  From the website: "It should be a delightful evening of local artisans, fresh local food, wine tastings and a delicious dinner from the always-wonderful Gervais & Vine!"   Find handmade items, flowers, wines, and fresh foods to make awesome gifts for anyone!

2)  Need something for mom, grandmother, sister, or best friend?  How about gorgeous, always stylish, (and on sale), suede gloves from 2 G's Clothing Company, 723 Saluda Ave in 5 Points?!  The staff is so friendly and helpful, and the prices are always affordable--everything is on sale right now!  (I just bought gloves in black there yesterday for my mom--they also had brown, camel and red--$30).  And they'll wrap your gift for free!

3) Just the Thing! is having a Buy Two Get One Free Sale on Wire Bangles and Stretchy Necklaces:

Wire bangles

4) My mom was headed to Tic Toc Candy Shop on Santee Ave. for some last minute stocking stuffers and gifts when I talked to her a bit ago--what a great idea!  (Hope she gets some things for the grown-up kids in her life).  (Images via Tic Toc's Facebook page)

 For the kids...

And the grown-ups.
These look ah-mazing--I have been craving Rice Krispy Treats!
Inspiration for me and Ben for tomorrow--these are for sale!
Having kids around, (and in my case, almost around), really does make Christmas seem so much more fun.  On Friday I am going to make a gingerbread house with my 3 1/2 year old nephew, Ben, (pics to come on the blog!)  I'm sure it will prove to be super-messy and fun.

Tonight the hubs and I are going to have a marathon-wrapping party until it is all done.  We have wrapped nothing yet, so we have piles of things to wrap.  I'm also going to make and ice gingerbread cookies tonight :)

Tomorrow night my family is going out to dinner with our close family friends, the Nunn's--it is a tradition of ours to eat with them on December 23rd every year.  Ruth's Chris, here we come--yum!

Friday night I will be at my sister's house for a Christmas Eve dinner, and then Christmas day we will make our rounds to all of our family's houses to share meals and open gifts. 
Whew--I am excited.

What are your holiday plans?  Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Monday, December 20, 2010

8 Weeks and Counting...

Here's the most recent pictures of the baby bump at 8 months (32 weeks)--
it feels more like a baby mountain now:

Cat, Taylor & me (and Jones, in the belly)
me & James

I am feeling pretty good these days; I try not to complain too much because I am certainly feeling much better than I did for the first 16 weeks, but sleep is pretty uncomfortable these days, and the heartburn is ooc...hormones are still crazy, but at least James has learned to adjust to them.  (I have a great husband who has been really supportive throughout this whole pregnancy; thanks for that, hon).

So, as the weeks dwindle and Jones' appearance becomes more and more imminent, it is certainly "on the brain," and I just felt like doing a little post detailing what I have loved the most about being prego and what I miss the most being prego:

1) Knowing that a real-live baby, that is equal parts me and James, is actually growing inside me.  What a miracle.
2) Feeling said baby move, kick, flutter, and yes, sometimes scratch inside my belly.  It is indescribably amazing.
3) Having grown so much closer to my husband, knowing that we have created a life and we are in it together to raise this baby and make him the smartest, most amazing human we know how to raise.
4) The smiles from strangers as they catch sight of my belly.
5) Knowing that this baby will grow up with all of his family around him--my parents, James' parents, our sisters and most of all his cousins, Ben (3) and Taylor (6 months).

1) Having my body work the way that I'm used to it working and look like I'm used to it looking (ie. being able to sit up from a lying down position without having to roll to one side or the other; standing up from a sitting position without having to ask for a helpful tug).  Cankles are no fun.
2) Sleeping on my belly.  I am a belly-sleeper by nature and I miss it terribly.
3) Running.  (Yes, I really do miss it).  I know some super-women who are able to run throughout their pregnancies, but I have not been one of them, and I miss it.
4) Alcohol.  I have abstained since the day I found out I was pregnant and I really want champagne soon.  And an extra-dirty vodka martini.  Or three.
5) Caesar salad.  No one told me until I got pregnant that this was something you shouldn't eat--(a true Caesar dressing has raw eggs in it, so to be safe you shouldn't eat it).  I miss it.
6) My clothes.  Obviously I have maternity clothes, but I am cheap and hate spending money on something that I will only wear for a few months, so I have a set number of outfits that work right now. 

During this week before Christmas, I am feeling so blessed and thankful for this child, Jones Milledge, growing inside of me.  Thanks for indulging me and reading this post--I can't wait to introduce him to all of you in 8 weeks!

What are you thankful for this Christmas week?
XO, Becca

Friday, December 17, 2010

Old Navy Baby

So, I couldn't help myself's what I just purchased online from Old Navy for Jones:

image via here

image via here

image via here
image via here

They have a great selection of baby stuff, and everything I got was on sale!  Then I looked up coupon codes for Old Navy on and found one that gave me an additional 20% off- can't beat that!  My total, with shipping, was under $25.

Merry Christmas, Jones.

Black Swan

image via here

I'm dragging the hubs to see Black Swan this weekend--(I'm actually pretty shocked it's already in theaters in Columbia- it's showing at Dutch Square and Wynnsong).  I am super-excited to see this movie-it has gotten really good reviews: here and here.

Can't wait!  We're also visiting with the hubs' grandparents and going to a Christmas party Saturday night.  What are you up to this last-weekend-before-Chirstmas, my dears?


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Happy Holidays, School Children of America!

image via here

On Monday President Obama signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Act of 2010 into law.  The law will increase the federal reimbursement for free school lunches by 6 cents a meal at a time when many school officials say they can't afford to provide the meals. The bill will also expand access to free lunch programs and allow 20 million additional after-school meals to be served annually in all 50 states. Most states now only provide money for after-school snacks.

As a former public school teacher, and a current social worker working with homeless families, I can tell you that this is a much needed step in the right direction.  Well done, President and Mrs. Obama!  Read more about it here.

image via here

In other healthy food news, I am currently reading Spoon Fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My Life by Kim Severson.  The part I am just finishing is about Alice Waters, arguably the most influential person in starting the Slow Food movement in America, America's modern organic, local food movement and garden-based education in schools.  The idealism of this woman is truly inspiring.  I am excited to read on about the other cooks that saved Severson's life--so far a good read.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Confession...and Why I Love NPR

The confession first: I listen to and enjoy pop/rap music.  I heart PINK and Kelly Clarkson and Kanye West and Ludacris, and most recently, Bruno Mars.  There.  I said it.  Feels good to have that off my chest.

In that vein--here's the second part of the post, why I love NPR: because they are not so discriminating in their story topics that they won't do a piece on an artist like Bruno Mars. 

Bruno Mars image via here

I mean, really, I do know that he is a cheesy, young pop/rap star, and that is not usually the kinds of interviews I tune into NPR to hear or ingest.  I love NPR for its serious news and in-depth analysis of current events and things that can make me sound smart at my next cocktail party, but I also love that I heard an interview with Bruno Mars on NPR a couple weeks ago.  And I love that he was so genuine and well-spoken and smart-sounding, that I was pleasantly surprised. 

Listen to the interview with Weekend Edition Saturday here.

Listen to Bruno Mars' most recent hit, Grenade, here.  Mock me (and him) if you will, but most everyone has felt the way he expresses in this song...

Happy Wednesday!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Homes for the Holidays and a Mini-Vacay!

I am loving all the images of beautiful homes decorated for the holidays on all the lovely blogs that I read daily, so I thought I would share some of my recent favorites with you:
Vintage pom-pom tree decorated with tiny vintage doll dresses via A Beautiful Mess here.
Candace's pretty hand-made doily garland featured via Smile and Wave here.
I am in L-U-V with this!  Hand-made glass ornament garland via Desire to Inspire here.
Tobi Fairley's home via Layers of Meaning here.

I am headed to Charlotte tomorrow morning with my family, and I could not be more excited for 3 nights in a hotel, meals out at nice restaurants, and holiday shopping at IKEA and South Park Mall!  I'll also get to see a college friend and her husband--she's expecting a baby boy in March, so we'll have tons to talk about.

  Look for the "Eating Our Way Through Charlotte- Part II" blog post to come next week.  
Have a wonderful weekend, my dears!
XO, Becca

Friday, December 3, 2010

My First Babies

Just because this has been a REALLY long and stressful week at work...
here are some pictures of my "first babies":

Abby, Bernice, (pronounced like "furnace" with a B), and Peach curled up together on our bed.    

My girls

My first baby- Peach.  He is almost 9 years old, but still acts 9 months old most days.  It's so sad to see the gray coming in around his muzzle...

Peach loves to lie his head on my baby belly these days, and I swear Jones kicks more when he does it.  I think they're going to be the best of friends.  Bernice may be another story; she's a very independent cat and does not take kindly to strangers--I don't think she'll do anything to the baby, she'll probably just run away for a few weeks in protest.

Any advice on acclimating fur babies to a new baby in the house?

Hope everyone has an amazing weekend!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Thanksgiving Weekend- In Pictures

Hope yours was great--my Thanksgiving weekend was just what I needed--relaxing, with lots of fun fall eating and activity to get me ready for the holiday season!  Here are some pictures:

The perfect tree- found at Ray's roadside stand, near the Lowe's on Garners Ferry Road--so affordable!

Our mantle--with amazing blue tinsel garland that James thinks is tacky as hell, but I love!
Homemade pomanders--they smell amazing, and are pretty darn festive-looking as well, if I do say so myself.

James cutting firewood at my Grandmother's farm

My grandparents named their farm after my dad, Steve and my aunt, Becky (Stebeck)

A fun and festive weekend!

Now I'm gearing up for my first-ever Cookie Swap this Saturday, and then our annual Holiday Party Saturday night; so much cooking and decorating (and cleaning!) to do, but I love it!  What are your weekend plans?