Sorry about how I sucked at everything this year

So, I have been seriously off my game lately, everyone. Things keep breaking and the house keeps getting dirtier and I started out with this new baby all, "It's not so bad! Second babies FTW!" and then remembered that lack of sleep has a CUMULATIVE EFFECT, OH LORD HELP ME AM I TIRED. Which means I did a terrible job at 1) The Holidays and 2) documenting The Holidays.

For example, there were tamales. There were cinnamon rolls. There were delicious yeast waffles with champagne. My parents made something that they were calling "bread pudding" that was actually a bowl of butter so concentrated as to be scientifically improbable. Yet there are no pictures of these things.

I also failed to point out that Anna is still only interested in dog toys.

Or that the monkey brains exacted their revenge at long last.

Anyway, Anna has definitely noticed and is trying to pick up my slack. She put her foraging hat on and everything.

Hedgeapple stew, a seasonal favorite!


My resolution is to stop touching electronics

Merry Boxing Day, everyone! Since our refrigerator was repaired I've been feeling a little restless, so I BROKE OUR CAMERA, HAHA, NOT LIKE I WAS USING IT RIGHT NOW.

It's okay, though. Anna is helping me figure out how to use to use the camera on my phone.

We've almost got it.


We're also making her live on candy canes and gumdrops

I haven't cooked anything since Friday because my fridge and freezer STOPPED FUNCTIONING ENTIRELY and I couldn't summon the energy to get all frontier-style with it. So, no food pictures because we have mostly been eating things like cheese sandwiches, not that there's anything wrong with that.

I considered writing more extensively about the refrigerator situation when it first happened, but I didn't feel like boring the internet with tales of appliance woe when I'm supposed to be boring it with pictures of my kid. I also remembered that when our washing machine freaked out, I covered that in excruciating detail until it decided to magically heal itself just to make me look like an idiot. Having tried both methods, you'd better believe that I'm going the feeling-stupid-but-having-a-working-household route from now on.

So that's something for you to look forward to.

Anna managed to sneak back into the house by disguising herself as one of Santa's (angry) little elves.

Of course, in order to keep up the ruse, she's having to sleep with the wrapping paper.

I really admire her commitment.
As long as she was back and acting relatively human (or elvish, close enough for me) I decided we could manage a birthday party at the children's museum on Saturday. Generally our trips there are far more amusing for me than her, but this time she became completely obsessed with watching the little train go by every few minutes, so we sat in one place for over an hour. She was so into it!

Sometimes Anna expresses "joy" as "deep concern." It's probably just an unsettling feeling for her.


It's for the good of the household

Putting a sandwich together for dinner probably doesn't seem very impressive, but bear with me: this is a muffaletta. Made with olive salad that I canned all by myself back in March, when I made it for my Mardi Gras-themed Bunko.

See? I was impressive once, ten months ago.
I also roasted some Brussels sprouts to go with yet another dip into the freezer-pot-roast pool.

I'm enjoying this system where I eat leftover pot roast every few days.
So, I'm not going to lie, you guys. It has not been a good week around here. Anna has embarked on an ambitious study of the bounds of human endurance re: ridiculous tantrums. The length and volume and epic scope of these tantrums have basically left me a hollow shell of my former vivacious self, forever alternating between the verge of tears and a sort of shriek-induced fugue state. She has caused me to use the term "harrowing" without exaggeration.

And then, this morning, she BROKE THE WAFFLE IRON.

So you'll understand why we've asked her to pack her things and go.


This family needs to come up with some different nighttime activities

I don't know why I've never posted about this pork tenderloin with olive mustard tapenade before, since it's a go-to recipe for me. I also don't know why I dumped it on top of a bunch of salad greens. I DO know why I added some fingerling potatoes, and that is because potatoes make salad awesome.

Okay, this is clearly one of the grosser-looking things I've ever put together. But olives taste good.
I wouldn't say this game of Naked Toddler Hides Under A Chair To Avoid Diapering was fun exactly, but it was a big improvement over the previous round of Naked Toddler Hides Under A Chair To Avoid Diapering While Wailing Like A Banshee.

Also the subsequent game of Screaming Toddler Seems To Think That Going To Bed Involves Waterboarding Or Something.
Anyway. Here are some Christmas card outtakes for you.

Note: every single picture is an outtake.

Extra note: if you're expecting a card from us and don't get one it's just because I didn't actually bother putting them together because these might actually be the two best pictures.
And some behind-the-scenes antics.

I guess if I were going to plug my baby into something it would probably be via her ear...not much to critique here.


You know I had nothing to work with when I go heavy on the Matt Foley style

Confronted with both kale and butternut squash in the Local Box this week, I again attempted to turn these winter challenges into "lasagna," because that's what everyone thinks when they see a massive pile of greens, right? Looks like lasagna! Or when you see any foodstuff? Guys? Just me?

Anyway, we recovered with some pot roast from the freezer.

I didn't even try to turn these vegetables into anything.
So, Anna has been doing this thing where she "eats actual food"

...and "doesn't look miserable throughout fun activities"

...and "gives positive attention to her baby sister."

I don't know, I'm a little weirded out.

It's probably just a phase.


Sulk and cookies

It's cold outside! Soup for dinner! My favorite thing about 101 Cookbooks is that the recipes always seem virtuous, even when they contain half a stick of butter.

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon (AND BUTTER)
Speaking of nutritional virtue, I have invited an old frenemy back into the house.

Just getting warmed up for January, the traditional season of health-torture.
On the other end of the food spectrum, I guess Anna got tired of waiting for me to start the holiday baking and decided to do it herself. One gets the sense that she was feeling rather put-upon.

"I have to do every freaking thing around here."

It's been a long time since we had an Anna's Fashion Corner update! Today, holiday gift bags as unique seasonal footwear.

I feel like you need the air of defiance to really sell this look.
In other-daughter news, Ivy is also totally surprised that she's already been here an entire month.

She'll be sullenly making gingerbread men in no time!


I barely made a chicken salad, I think Christmas crafts are out this year

I had a little burst of ambition the other day and decided it was time to actually put a meal together all by myself while dealing with both girls. I went with Chicken Salad with Tahini-Yogurt Dressing, and it was good! So that was a success.

Ignore where the recipe says "active time 30 minutes," though. I found it to be about four hours.
We've recently had a run of camera-avoidance in these parts.

She's employing some impressive tactics. Camoflage:

Sur La Table's packaging is strangely giggly.

And bribery:

Sorry honey, it's going to take more than the $8 in my wallet.

Anyway, I will persist at least until Ivy starts making more interesting faces.

Several of the people I follow have posted Christmas plans/Advent activities, and I was starting to get inspired to the point of almost considering maybe buying an Advent calendar and stealing some of their ideas for it, and then my friend Lauren posted a picture of the Advent calendar she made and I gave up on ever accomplishing anything, because, seriously:

I'm just going to print out a picture of this and tape things to the back of it.


Plastic happiness

More from the I Totally Planned Ahead For This Baby Files: ratatouille (with huge gobs of brie, on toast) and lasagna.

I find that tomatoes need a great deal of salt and saturated fat to reach their full potential.

Just like me!
If any of you remember the live (/evil) Christmas tree saga of last December, you know that all of that effort and grief and actual physical pain is about to pay off, because we totally have an eco-friendly tree all ready to go another year! Let's go check on our investment.

Um. What about the heaviest pot in the universe? Aww. It's like the empty chair where Tiny Tim used to sit.

In the dark reboot of the franchise where Tiny Tim is really pointy and vindictive.
So, yeah, we bought a fake tree this year. It's soft and symmetrical and a normally-strengthed human can move it from one place to another and it's covered in pine cones, which Anna calls "pine tones." (Or, rather, "PINETONES!!!") I love my fake tree. I'm sorry, earth.

Despite the tree's artificial nature, Anna remembers how important it is to check for squirrels.

Make sure you really get in there.

Can't be too careful.


Hey, remember when I got diabetes? So weird.

Everybody ate a disgusting amount yesterday, right? The extra weight won't count if we're all in it together. This year was exciting for me because for once there was a gap in the dessert menu so I got to experiment with some seasonal recipes (read: things I bookmarked during my cardboard period with a single tear in my eye).

Pumpkin gingerbread: win.

Apple cider cream pie: mega win.

Pumpkin spice rice krispie treats: fail. Super soggy.

I still ate four of them.
So, anyone who has (very kindly) told me that I don't look like I just had a baby, don't worry:

By Christmas I definitely will.

So will Dan.
I joke about the downside of overindulgence, but the important thing is that everyone really savor and appreciate such a bounty when it's available.

Maybe she was just getting a glimpse of her future, wherein we dressed her as a pioneer pilgrim flapper.



Almost saved this one for the Christmas card

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! Hope you're enjoying this special time of togetherness as much as we are.