1/26/2014

The Cake Files: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Everyone whose close to me knows my obsession with The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It's always been one of my all time favorite children's books, and I have said for years now that when hubby and I have our little one their first birthday party will be The Very Hungry Caterpillar themed. 

So, you can only imagine my excitement when my friend Paige, who I played field hockey with in high school, asked that I make her little Levi's first birthday cake.  His Very Hungry Caterpillar themed first birthday cake.
Yay!
Although the psychotic M&M's proved to be a massive pain in the bum (for whatever reason, they were constantly falling off and rolling away. I've never experienced anything more irritating in my life), I still think this has to be my most favorite cake I've done yet. Not only because it's The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but because it was the most fun I've ever had decorating. Marbleizing my fondant to look similar to Eric Carle's paint strokes was so unique and joyful. As was creating an edible collage of tiny fondant pickles, ice cream cones and swiss cheese slices. It turned out whimsical and vibrant, very much like the book. It was truly the most amazing opportunity to practice my baby's future first birthday cake. To put my heart and soul into something I've always enjoy so much.

 Happy Birthday, Baby Levi!
 I hope you enjoy your cake. Squish and moosh that apple smash cake like it's nobody's business. 

1/20/2014

Content

First things first,
Happy Martin Luther King, Jr Day!
Keep dreaming.

I'm sitting here in bed with Carl as we peruse the offerings of Netflix. No doubt we'll stumble upon another series to binge watch. Most recently we've made our way through 30 Rock (I LOVE LEMON!!), My Cat From Hell, Auction Kings and Dirty Money. I so wish they'd add all of the F.R.I.EN.D.S episodes. When we moved back home from England I had to sell my beloved box set. I've missed it ever since, but just can't seem to justify the astronomical price I'd have to pay to reclaim it again. My English box set I got at HMV for a bargain price of £50 during an after Christmas sale. 

I haven't eaten fried food in months. Periodically I'll indulge in a small nibble of something oozing with oil (Mmmm, donuts) but for the most part I'm not interested. I hate everything McDonald's and would rather dive into a pool of homemade chocolate chip cookies any day over a big salty bowl of piping hot mozzarella sticks or french fries. Tonight, however, I'd promised Carl I'd make him homemade fish n' chips like I used to in our Liverpool apartment. We've been craving a good chippy fish and chip meal, and my Mother was making a trip after work to a local fish mongers where she kindly picked me up a cod fillet. A bit of beer batter, lovingly irregular chopped homemade potatoes and lots of "Mmmm, this is lovely baby. Seriously, really nice babe" comments from the hubs, and we had a successful proper English meal just like the good ol' days. 

Who would believe that just 5 minutes ago the Pandora Disney Channel was blaring from my phone as I made our stuffed Starbucks Gingerbread Bear, Philippe, sing and dance to The Little Mermaids: Under The Sea? When all the Disney fun was said and done, Carl had Whatsapped a video of Philippe's John Travola-esque moves to Mama Lynne, who is peacefully sleeping in her cozy Liverpool bed. She'll wake in the morning to a video from us. Her 30 year old son and his equally immature wife, making an adorable stuffed bear sing and dance to Disney songs. 
It's so weird - but she gets it. Philippe is our family inside joke - our travelling gnome who takes pictures in famous places like the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben and the Statue of Liberty. He "talks" and "sings" and "dances" and it's crazy and fabulous and makes us smile. On crappy days when we desperately need a pick me up, all we have to do is make that stuffed bear body-pop or recite lines from The Office and we're instantly smiling. 
As I type this my feet are tucked up under Grandma Cousino's quilt. It sits, every day, carefully folded in half - and always with my favorite brown polka dot patches facing upward on my side. Whenever I wrap myself in it, or pull it up our bed to my face- breathing in the comforting smell of fabric softener and age- I instantly feel like shes hugging me. I feel a sense of peace and hope and love. I feel content.

And it's with that sense of contentment I say goodnight, friends. 
Goodnight.
xoxo

Calm

I woke up this morning to see big puffy white snowflakes gently dance from the sky. Swirling and twirling as they found their new resting place on roofs, branches and the remnants of last weeks icy storm on crunchy lawns. Watching snow fall brings me an indescribable calmness and peace of mind. I stood on the back deck watching them as I inhaled the warm steam of my green tea and beckoned the Benadryl I'd taken to give me some sort of sinus relief. It is now 3 hours later and I'm seriously considering whether decapitation will bring any relief. Thankfully the remainder of my snow-inspired calmness has deterred me. 

Today is Mr. Anderson's first day as a 'permanent employee.' I'm so proud of him. It's hard to believe that just over a year ago we were preparing to relocate our entire lives. Packing and shipping and flying everything near and dear to us across the Atlantic Ocean. To a place I've loved since as far back as I can remember, but was still relatively foreign to Carl. It's so good for my soul to see that now, a year and 2 months later, my Vermont - my home - is finally beginning to become Carl's as well. We have jobs, money in our savings account, a car, furniture and pots and pans and tons of vintage picture frames for our future house. We're forming a sense of stability. We're planting our roots. We're settling in, and making plans and dreaming big. I'm so hopeful and excited for the future.

Lately my thoughts have been completely consumed with my dream to write books. I find myself wondering through the day thinking of clever lead paragraphs for a memoir or colorful characters for a children's series. I know that this dream is, along with most things in my life, something that will test my patience. After all, money doesn't grow on trees, and that the lump we have tucked away in our savings account is entirely for our first home. In addition, I know that any memoir I write now would be relatively boring and lackluster. What have I done with my life that is so inspiring or book-worthy? I still have so much to learn, to experience, to overcome. So, in the meantime I'll keep a journal, continue to form inciting prologues and blurbs and dream.

1/12/2014

Putting one foot in front of the other

Well, I did it. My first real run since September, and first of 2014. A whole 3.12 miles.

Did I really want to go out and run in snow flurries? No. Was it fast and elegant and effortless? No. Do I still have a 9:28 pace? Hell no. 

But...

Did I manage to run the entire time? Yes. Did I sweat and burn off some of that chocolate caramel cake I ate for hubby's birthday? Yes. Did I end feeling happy and energetic and accomplished? Hell yes. 

In the end, my pace and distance don't really matter. All that matters is that I did it. I got up off of my ass and I did it. 

Boy, does that feel good.

1/10/2014

The Big Three-Oh

Today my sweet, funny, caring, unbelievably unique and undoubtedly Liverpudlian, husband turns 30.

Yep. He's the big three-oh.
The first official 'grown up' milestone birthday. 






















I remember when we met, Way back when everyone thought it was cool to air drum to Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes. Way back when he couldn't grow a beard. Way back when he was just my cute 18 year old guitar player with dirty blonde curly hair and nothing but Led Zeppelin t-shirts.
Man, how time flies when you're having fun. Making memories. Growing up together.

Happy 30th birthday, baby. Thank you for letting us share it with you.

1/08/2014

SO WHAT! Wednesday

Life After I Dew

Today I'm linking up with Shannon and saying a bit fat SO WHAT if...
  • I've totally been doing a Betty White-esque 'Snow Dance' (reminiscent to the Lil' Jon Get Low version she does in The Proposal) every single day that we have snow or ice or -20 degree weather in our forecast. I have yet to see results, aside from pulling a few muscles. 
  • I'm feeling so miserable and depressed lately. Definitely in my annual post-Christmas funk. 
  • I'm super excited that it doesn't get dark til close to 5pm now. I love that the days are getting longer again.
  • I don't make specific or stressful 'resolutions' like "I want to lose 30lbs by July." or "I want to have my  first child by December 2014." anymore. I think they're counterproductive. I'm a general 'goal' kinda girl now.
  • Speaking of 'goals'...I still haven't composed my '2014 Goals' blog post. Been meaning to do it for a week now. Hello procrastination.
  • I booked my Elementary Ed Praxis test last night. I take it in two weeks and I'm crapping my pants so much that I'm having nightmares. When I had to take my UK Praxis (QTS) test, it was the bane of my existence. I aced the reading and writing sections, but wanted to pull my hair out in the thick of obnoxious mathematical equations like "there are 409 purple aliens traveling in 674.2 flying saucers at a speed of 8939875 mph. What will they eat for breakfast?" 
  • I hopped on the scale last weekend and turns out that over the last year I've gained 8lbs and my beloved running has taken a steep decline since the Color Run back in September. Monday I logged back on to my Weight Watchers account (O.M.G. batman! did you know that those delicious chocolate Costco muffins are 19 points each?! Whoops), and this weekend I'm excited to start running again. I miss it. 
  • I'm currently obsessed with listening to The Pentatonix. How do people make noises like that with just their mouths? So amazing to me.
  • I've cried so much in the last week I fear my husband thinks I'm bi-polar. Emotional messbag is what I am.
  • I taught myself to crochet last week. I've already made hubby and I a cute (albeit slightly crooked) throw. I'm also currently halfway through a blanket for my sis and bro-in-law. Just call me Grandma.
  • I can't stop eating oranges.
  • I love the smell of Scotch Tape so much that I'll actually sit with a piece of it stuck to the end of my nose just so I can continuous breathe in the scent. 
  • I watched You've Got Mail on repeat over the weekend.

1/06/2014

Permanent

We finally got it. The call we've been waiting months for.

Hubby has officially been offered (and accepted) a permanent position. 

Oh, that noise you hear? It's just a choir of angels singing.

The best part of it all? In addition to the health insurance and raise and long term stability...his employer is going to pay - in advance and in full - for his Computer Science BA! 

HOLY SHIT BATMAN! 

I had this feeling - this effervescent, warm, reassuring joyfulness deep down in my belly as Carl and I kissed last week to Old Lang Syne. A tiny hopeful whisper in the back of mind, a calmness, a ping of overwhelming optimism. I just knew that 2014 was gonna be our year. The year where all of our hardships - our 12 years of long distance pain in the ass-ness, moving across the world-ness, expensive starting all over at the very beginning-ness - will start to make way for our long overdue awesomeness. The year of karma, baby. Karma that is finally paying us back for all the times we cried and struggled and wondered when things would become just that little bit easier. All the times we wondered when we'd finally find our path. Find our footing. All the times we dusted ourselves off and just kept going.

Our ducks are lining up. Not yet in a perfectly straight row, no sir, but they're grouped. Together. Waddling and quacking and content. And that's all that we could ask for. That's all we need to make us happy. The metaphor of a discombobulated string of daydreaming water birds.

As Mama Lynne always says, good things come to those who wait.