Brought to you by the letter S and the number 32

January 31, 2012

Okay I’ve been listening to too much Sesame Street

Today is my 32nd birthday. It’s not much of a milestone, but according to my “research” it’s a happy number so that’s a good thing, right?!

I share my birthday with…

  • Justin Timberlake (31)
  • Minnie Driver (41)
  • Nolan Ryan (65)
  • Jackie Robinson (1919-1972)

…and plenty of others.

Some randomness about the number 32…[source]

And of course, 32 is how old my husband was when he met me. Hard to believe I was only 25!

I never thought I’d be a programmer

January 24, 2012

I graduated from college in December 2003 and spent a year sending out resumes and trying to find a job in my field (IT). I had a really hard time finding something, most likely because I had no work experience at all. Well, not in this field anyway. I sent out close to 100 resumes and I went on only about a half dozen interviews.

I finally interviewed with a small consulting company in my hometown for a programming position. Now when I was in school, I hated programming. HATED. As in, I cried and cursed and frantically tried to get my mess of a program to compile at 11:59pm so I could submit it by midnight. And I swore I could never be a programmer because of how frustrating and stressful it is.

In the year between getting my degree and getting my job, I built a website. It’s no longer up and running, but I designed and built a Harry Potter website called 12 Grimmauld Place. I had learned HTML and CSS in one of the last courses I took at UMBC and I enjoyed the structure and organization of writing a webpage. I picked up a familiarity with JavaScript during this process – enough to copy a free sample of code and tweak it for my use.

It turns out that that got me my job.

Seven years ago today I sat in this same chair at this same desk in front of this same screen with that JavaScript book in my lap as I was thrown into the deep end and asked to write some original code. It took me a little bit of time to come up to speed, but I learned quickly.

Now I’m a senior staff member, having been here longer than most of the others. I’m not sure whether or not I thought I’d be here this long and I’m not sure whether or not I’ll stay another 7 years. But I work for a company full of good people who took a chance on me and I will always be grateful for that.

Moments of Clarity

January 20, 2012

Every now and then it hits me. OMG I HAVE A BABY. A BABY. I’m somebody’s mother. It’s absolutely surreal.

Right after Caelan was born, and even now almost 8 (!) months later, Bill and I will randomly whisper to each other incredulously: “Hon…we have a baby. We made him out of nothing.” Now we joke that we made him out of macaroni & cheese and Subway, with some iced tea thrown in there too (yeah we’re healthy).

Now that he’s getting older, I’m catching more and more glimpses of familiar in his face and expressions. I think he looks like Bill, but I think a lot of his facial expressions and mannerisms are like mine.

Before you get annoyed with my gushing, let me assure you that we are not always basking in the warm comforting glow of parenthood. And to answer my family’s often-asked question…No, we do not just sit around and stare at the baby all the time! Most of the time we are just doing normal everyday stuff. We cook dinner, wash dishes and bottles, fold laundry in front of the TV, wrestle a baby into a clean diaper while he tries to crawl off the changing pad, try to feed him while he’s intent on keeping his mouth closed, try to stave off a melt down, or try to get our reluctant napper to go down for more than 30 minutes on a weekend. That’s why those little moments of clarity are so welcome. Yeah, we’re tired and frustrated sometimes, but look! We made this baby and look how cute he is 🙂

And now, a few gratuitous photos… (please excuse the poor quality, they’re phone pics)

My 100th Post

January 12, 2012

100 posts in 2-ish years really isn’t that many, but it seemed like a milestone worth mentioning! I am still surprised that people actually read my blog so I thought I would take a little poll and find out how exactly I came to have “followers”.

I am also well aware that if I want to continue having “followers” I need to post more often! I’m really going to try and work on that this year 🙂 I have several half-written posts floating around but none of them have taken their final form as of yet. But stay tuned, and thank you for reading!!

C is for Cookie

January 11, 2012

[pictures from Kristy]

I made a baby shower cake last October for Benjamin’s mom, Kristy, when she was pregnant with him. It’s one of my all time favorites! So when Kristy asked if I could make cakes for Benjamin’s first birthday I was happy to do it AND she had a great idea. We used the pictures below (click on them for the sources) to come up with a plan for a 1/4 sheet cake and 2 dozen cupcakes.

I decided to use the yellow cake recipe I found over at Smitten Kitchen. I’ve used this recipe once before and I know it makes a nice dense cake which would be great for carving since the plan here was to carve the sheet cake into a #1. I added chocolate chips into the mix since Kristy wanted a chocolate chip cake.

I made up 1 batch of chocolate buttercream icing to fill the sheet cake and I made up 2.5 batches of vanilla buttercream for the top of the cake and the cupcakes.

For the fondant decorations, I used white and black fondant to make 25 sets of googly eye balls. I also cut out some large dots in red, orange, green, and blue for the cake. I used mini Chips Ahoy cookies for the cupcakes.

For the Cookie Monster topper, I decided to make it out of blue fondant and then use royal icing for the fur. I was sort of winging it here because I wasn’t sure if the royal icing would stick to the fondant, but it did. I used a grass tip (Wilton’s #233) for the fur for both the Cookie Monster topper and the cupcakes and it worked perfectly.

I made these cakes and their decorations over the course of 4 days. I meant to count how many hours I spent on it, but it was hard to tell. I took lots of breaks to take care of my son so that made counting hours tricky. I think it was about 8-10 hours total though.

As much as I am happy I took on this project and as proud I am of how it turned out, it reminded me that I do not have the luxury of 8-10 extra hours in a week for cake baking. It’s really hard to make it work these days. I am in awe of those moms out there who work full time, take care of munchkins, and still have time for a time-consuming hobby like this….’cause I really don’t.