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A belated celebratory post

I’d wanted to post this on Monday, but my engineering mind often forces me into chronological slavery, i.e. I had to write about my Christmas baking before I wrote about this. The occasion is worth celebrating nonetheless.

On Monday, my dear husband and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary. While that may not seem like a lot to more seasoned married couples, we’ve accomplished and experienced a lot in that short time!

In the past two years, we’ve:
– Celebrated two graduations (James’s from undergrad, mine with my Master’s)
– Had our honeymoon apartment together (~540 sq. ft. – talk about a cozy nest!)
– Traveled to Jamaica, Poland, Seattle, New Mexico, and Atlanta (not to mention various locations around the state)
– Bought a house (moving into which was an absolute SHOCK after our aforementioned teeny apartment)
– Witnessed six other lovely couples get married
– Volunteered together, prayed together, mourned together, cried together
– Created this one-of-a-kind charmer:

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And grown in admiration, respect, and love for each other.

If we’ve done all this – with God’s help – in the past two years, there’s no telling what the next 2, 5, 10, 25, 50 years will bring. Here’s to all of them.

Happy (belated) anniversary, Kubuś. Kocham cię!

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One of those awesomely staged wedding photos. Don't we look so passionately in love, staring awkwardly into the camera? Also, 'twas a skinnier time, for both of us. Alas.

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One of my favorites.

Why am I not being used?

I have a bone to pick with modern society. You see, I spent five and a half good years of my life getting three degrees (yes, three!). I also have a beautiful son at home that brightens my whole life and who needs my care.

And here enters my bone.

WHY is it that in today’s society, you’re forced to choose between your career aspirations and your family? Most companies these days talk about a so-called work/life balance, but what they really mean is, “Give us at least forty of your best hours in one week and use the rest to spend some time doing whatever else you still have the energy for.”

Maybe I’m just a little pessimistic about all of this. Maybe some companies really are better than others about offering their employees the time and resources necessary to pursue goals outside of work. But the fact of the matter is that for you to be a valuable member of their workforce, you have to give over at least forty hours a week, and in their offices.

Now, I consider myself a fairly highly-educated individual. I’ve earned two undergraduate degrees and one Masters degree. I’d like to contribute to the working world using my skills that I’ve accumulated over the years. Why is it that, to do so, I have to give up all of my time with my son, instead handing him over to daycare and letting someone else raise him and see his first moments?

Please don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with women who want or need to go to work full-time and put their children in daycare. Everybody’s situation and goals are different, and everything works out fine in the end. But I, personally, want to be at home with my baby. I also want to show what I can do, professionally.

Perhaps I’m asking too much. This is most likely a case of I-want-to-have-my-cake-and-eat-it-too. But hear me out – don’t you think there are employers out there that could benefit from hard-working, valuable employees that work part-time and/or entirely from home? If they’re part-time workers, they wouldn’t even have to be given benefits.

James points out to me that most employers have time-sensitive projects and they can’t afford to have people working on them only half the time. But honestly, there have to got to be some projects that maybe can’t afford a full-time hire but could use an extra set of hands part of the time. Either way, I just feel like there’s a whole untapped pool of talent out there that gets overlooked simply because parents aren’t willing to give up all of their time with their children. And I’m part of that frustrated pool.

If I have to pick exclusively out of the two, I’ll most likely always pick my baby – but it’d be nice to know that my hard-earned degrees are being put to good use.

Just food for thought, I guess.

Good News, Bad News

Which one would you like to hear first? I always prefer bad news first to get it over with, so here we go:

I am not crazy or spontaneous.

Sad, yes? My awesome crazy mission of last week did not succeed. But on the bright side, it’s not because I failed, it’s because I didn’t even try! That’s good… right? Anyway, just to not be mean, I’ll tell you what I was supposed to have done and why I didn’t do it.

Last week two Starbucks (Starbuckses?) opened in Austin. Both of these were offering FREE DRINKS FOR A YEAR to the first 100 customers at their grand openings. Can you imagine what this would have meant for someone like me? 52 x the-cost-of-a-grande-drink dollars, that’s what. The crazy part was that the Starbucks closer to me was opening at 5 AM and I was going to be all hard-core and show up at 4 and get those darned free drinks, thank you.

The night before, however, I found out that the free drinks were only valid at that particular Starbucks. SADNESS. I quickly realized that a round trip out to this Starbucks (about 14 miles away) would cost me about the price of a grande drink in gas. Ssssoooo. That plus the fact that I would have needed to get up at 3 AM made me decide that I wanted to do something crazy, not insane, so I very unspontaneously climbed into bed and forgot the whole thing.

And now, the good news.

It’s time for another dessert!

This weekend I tried my hand at my first cheesecake since I started this blog. I gave my beloved hubs the chance to pick this week’s dessert, and he picked a delicious crème fraîche cheesecake with honey-rum-roasted pineapple. Um. Yum?

Quick fact: crème fraîche is akin to sour cream, but a little smoother and sweeter. It’s still got a tang, though, so it added both some nice smoothness and lightness to the cheesecake.

I also got to use a vanilla bean for the first time ever in this dessert, so I was very excited about that. Until I found out that ONE vanilla bean costs nine dollars at our local grocery store! I seriously thought I read that price tag wrong, but no no, nine dollars it was. I went ahead and bit the bullet anyway because I really wanted to use that vanilla bean to get the experience and to do the cheesecake right. But I definitely sneaked off to Amazon right after I got home from the grocery store and found out that vanilla beans cost $0.50-$1 per bean there, depending on how many you buy. So let’s all definitely keep that in mind for any future culinary exploits.

(P.S. About the vanilla bean – actually really easy to use! And you can keep the bean once you’ve scraped the seeds out to make vanilla sugar! I’m most definitely looking forward to that.)

And now, without further ado, I give you cheesecake:

Cheesecake!

The cheesecake in all its glory.

Would you care for a slice?

A be-pineappled slice of cheesecake.

Yum.

See the vanilla bean seeds?

Nothing like shopping…

…in your own closet. Which, when you think about it, really is nothing like shopping. No lines, no crowds, no hassle, no 100-degree heat (yep, still got that going for us here), no spending money, and you’re bound to love almost everything you try on since you already loved it enough once to buy it.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve often surprised myself with discoveries in my own closet. This especially happens at the start of a new season. And by new season, I really mean the months of October- February since everything else in central Texas is simply summer. So I rarely forget what summer clothing I have since I wear it 7 months out of the year. Moving on…

THIS year I was really excited to discover in my closet (well, not exactly – I just remembered I had them) my beautiful gray boots. Honestly, I must have had a temporary lapse in sanity to forget I had these because I wore them practically every day last season (remember, we’ve been in the same season since March). I LOVE my boots! At least as much as you can love inanimate objects, which is to say I genuinely appreciate their comfort, style, and general trendy factor. In any case, the rediscovery of these boots has geared me up to do an overhaul of my closet – you’re welcome, James! – and see what else I have to discover that’ll keep me from having to buy new not-summer clothes (you’re welcome, James!). Although this year will be a little bit different because last year I wore primarily maternity clothes, so goodness knows I have NO idea what I even own, pre-maternity, not-summer-wise… Mayhaps I’ll have to go shopping outside of my closet after all? 🙂

Other thoughts today:

1) I beat the Internet problem. Boo-yeah, Internet! I win. On a related note, AT&T is silly. But at least we get cheap DSL from them.

2) I suffered through my baby boy’s first cold these past couple of days. So sad. 😦 Poor kiddo had one really tough night because he couldn’t breathe when he laid down. Otherwise, though, he really took the whole being-sick thing like a champ. You honestly could barely tell he was under the weather except for the copious amounts of snot and boogers coming out of his nose (we moms live a glamorous life, let me tell you. And it’s all worth it.).
2a) Baby boy has apparently also learned how to sleep! (What is that you say? He already learned how to sleep? Ha! You don’t know jack. Or I guess Maciek in this case.) I should say rather that we learned how to PUT him to sleep better. Turns out kiddo likes a pillow. And don’t you militant mommas out there worry – he’s way past peak-risk SIDS age, and he’s super strong so he can move away if something gets in his face. And now he actually sleeps! YAY!

3) I’m hoping to do something CRAZY tomorrow. As I explained to my loving husband, it’s my way of showing that I’m still a young person who occasionally does spontaneous things in between the runny noses and diaper changes. I won’t tell you what this CRAZY thing is unless it pans out. If I succeed, I’ll get a pretty fantastic reward. But if I don’t, I don’t want to suffer the shame of having told you my plan and then failing. Or something. In any case, if it works out, I’ll let you know, and if it doesn’t, we shall never speak of this again. Probably.

Phew, that’s it for now. I’ve gotta dash off to… chill out. Maciek’s still asleep!