Adios, 2011!

I was chatting with a friend yesterday and she mentioned something interesting. She said her mother has a saying: “Odd numbered years tend to have lots of problems, even numbered years are better.”

It gave us both pause. I mean, in order to establish whether or not you agree with that statement you have to think over the events of an entire year. Obviously no year is going to be entirely devoid of problems, but can you really say even years have fewer of them?

For us, 2011 was a pretty banner year. Wes started working as lead developer doing work he loves, lost 20 pounds, made it into the diamond league at Starcraft, and developed a new coding technique that his company’s clients are going crazy for. I wrote a book, got published, went to my first writer’s conference, lost 40 pounds, and got pregnant. Aidan learned to walk, started talking, discovered a deep and abiding love for Thomas the Train, and got even cuter (we didn’t think that was going to be possible, but somehow he managed anyway).

We celebrated Aidan’s first birthday, went to the Opera, took a couple little vacations, and made tons of memories with friends, families, and strangers. Yeah, there were problems along the way, but very few of them were big enough for me to remember their specifics.

As for us, I’m not sure the odd years = bad, even years = good rule applies. I mean, unless 2012 is going to be even more exciting than 2011 was. Hard to believe, but an enticing prospect nonetheless.

Here are my hopes for 2012:

  • A healthy, happy little baby in July.
  • Finishing my zombie apocalypse novel.
  • Signing an agent to represent my accountant novel.
  • Losing at least half my baby weight by the end of the year.
  • Getting good enough at playing Resident Evil on the Wii that I can reliably outrank my husband.
  • Getting a good haircut, and then mastering styling said haircut.
  • Teaching my son to swim.
  • Making more time to blog.
  • Writing another short story.

How about you? What are your hopes for 2012? Do you fall under the odd years = bad, even years = good rule?

We Survived!

After an overly ambitious Christmas weekend filled with dinners, brunches, friends, and family, I’m entering the last week of 2011 feeling bedraggled but happy, sick but content.

What a weekend! We hosted two Christmas dinners and two Christmas brunches, with all the grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, and dishes that implies. Our very house feels exhausted, as though it simply cannot fathom the idea of welcoming one more person into it.

Still, it was worth it. I realized one night, after the dishes were done and I was sleep-walking my way through washing my hair, that if you have enough friends and family to celebrate Christmas with that you feel exhausted by the end of it, you are a very blessed person. If all those people effectively exhaust your toddler too so he sleeps well, then that’s just bonus blessing.

In case you’re curious about some of the food we made this weekend, here are some highlights I recommend:

  • Vegetable Tarte Tatin This dish stole the show! It’s a bit tricky to make but so worth it, the combination of flavors is lovely and it’s so pretty to serve.
  • Smashed Potato Gratin Maybe we smashed the potatoes a little too much, but this dish seemed to us to be just really fancy mashed potatoes. That said, they’re absolutely scrumptious fancy mashed potatoes.
  • Baked French Toast Casserole I made this for brunch on Christmas Eve, and served it with eggs and bacon. So tasty! The bread turns custardy overnight and the praline topping rounds it off nicely. Plus, you make this the night before so there’s less prep time in the morning.
As Aidan plays with his multitude of new toys, content and calm as a tiny Hindu cow, I can’t help but feel blessed. Blessed and content and calm. And tired. Oh, so very tired. How was your weekend?

Hairy Situation

I did my hair on Wednesday. For those who know me in real life, you’ll know this merits a blog post because I almost never do my hair. This is not an exaggeration. I can count the number of times I did my hair this whole year using less than one whole hand’s worth of fingers.

It’s not that my hair is impossible, per se. From what I’ve been told, my hair is thick and has a lot of body and, with the right tools, can look rather lovely.

The problem is me. Not only do I have very little idea how to style my hair, I have a lethal lack of inclination to do so. I’m a stay at home mom who does housework most of every day, why would I bother to do my hair and try to keep it out of my face every day when I could just throw it up in a ponytail and be done with it?

Even though this remains true, I’ve decided to conquer this particular shortcoming of mine. 2012 is going to be the year I learn how to do my hair.

Why? Well, that’s a complicated question. Why does any woman learn how to make herself look prettier? Because she likes the end result, because she likes the way others feel about the end result, because it self actualizes some inner expectation she has for herself. Sometimes the answer is a combination of all three.

For me, I suppose the answer is that I’m tired of not being able to do this for myself. That and I might be carrying around a teeny tiny daughter, and I want to be able to teach her girly stuff someday if she wants to learn.

I don’t want to be intimidated by doing her hair, or feel like I’m all thumbs when she asks me how to put on foundation or straighten her hair.

I want to feel confident that I can be a resource to her, and help her avoid unfortunate hair mistakes. That is, of course, if she’ll listen to me.

Then again, I could be carrying another boy, in which case this endeavor is somewhat less altruistic and more self indulgent. I mean, I’ll be happier when I feel like I can make myself look as nice as possible, and I think my hair is the last piece of the puzzle.

So. 2012. This will be the year I learn to do my hair. And possibly publish another novel. And finish my zombie apocalypse novel. And have another baby.

It’s gonna be a good year.

Come On Down!

This post almost didn’t happen because I inadvertently feel asleep before I could reach for my laptop. I snoozed my productive afternoon hours away, and when I woke up I was afflicted with the Dreaded Post-Nap Lethargy and thought sitting on the couch sounded like more fun than, y’know, doing my job.

But sitting there wasn’t an option because even though I’m in possession of a stack of my own books, the people who entered my giveaway do not have a stack of my books, and are probably excited to find out who won a copy.

You would be so proud of me. Foggy-headed step by foggy-headed step I crossed the kitchen, unplugged my laptop, and then made a list of the people who entered, taking into account how many times they entered (people who were existing Facebook fans got an additional entry, etc.).

Then, I went to and let them pick the number. Out of 6 entrants, there were 13 entries total and picked number…


Congrats, number 8! Your real name is Daniel Siegel! I’ll send you an email in a couple minutes to get your address and then ship your book out to you as soon as I can.

For everyone else who entered, thank you for wanting to win my book in the first place. That probably sounds dumb, but the fact that you took time out of your day to enter to win my book warms my little author heart all the way down to its gooey center. I’ll do another giveaway soon.

A Giveaway For the Ages

You could win your very own copy to photograph in weird places!

Now that the first trimester of pregnancy has loosed its clutches on me a wee bit, I feel well enough to offer to go to the post office for you. In fact, not only do I feel well enough to go to the post office, I could even stand to sign my name first, and then go to the post office.

How nice am I, right?!

Especially considering I’m reading Jen Lancaster‘s book If You Were Here and having trouble tearing myself away from it long enough to do anything else. Like, you know, showering, feeding my child, laundry. The stuff I’m supposed to be doing.

So what am I saying? I’m saying I’d like to do a giveaway. I’d like to send you a free book. And not just any free book, the very book I wrote with my own two index fingers! (I don’t type properly, I’m the fastest hunt-and-pecker you’ve ever met)

This giveaway comes just in time for the holidays, so you can re-gift it to your heart’s content! Just think of it as a free gift to bring to a gift exchange, or even an easy gift to give to any gamers you might know.

The best part? All you have to do to enter is leave a comment. It can be a one word comment, or even just an exclamation point. Shoot, it can be a copy-and-pasted preamble to the Constitution for all I care. Just leave a comment, and you’re entered to win.

Additional ways to enter:

  • “Like” my author page on Facebook (and leave a comment letting me know you did)
  • “Follow” me on Twitter (again with the letting me know you did thing)
  • Tweet/Facebook about the giveaway (do I even need to be redundant about letting me know about this?)
  • Blog about the giveaway (this one’s worth two entries just by itself)
So that’s it. Five different ways to enter to win a free book. You have 48 hours. Get cracking!