Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Rockin' New Year's Eve

Is not really something I've ever had. Memorable ones, yes, but not necessarily Rockin'.

Let's see, in high school I worked almost every New Year's Eve at a local restaurant. The tips were usually awesome that night, but some of my coworkers left much to be desired. I don't remember doing much afterward to actually ring in the New Year, though.

In college, they were mostly spent with friends, drinking in some form. I think my least favorite was the millennial New Year, where I was a mere 4 days shy of legal drinking age and couldn't go to the bar parties the rest of my friends were going to at the Mall of America. So I hung out in the hotel room. Not that it really mattered much, we had done our fair share of celebrating beforehand, and most people wandered back to the hotel by 12:30, too drunk and/or tired to stay out much later.

I had high hopes for 2006 - we had booked a trip to London in May of 2005 with NYE to be spent in Trafalgar square toasting in 2006 with the other revelers. It would have been amazing had I not gotten pregnant in July of 2005 and instead was 30 weeks pregnant, unable to toast and, due to a tube workers strike, forced to walk from Trafalgar Square to Victoria Station (a few miles) in order to find transportation back to our hovel of a hotel. It was certainly memorable, and something I'll always be able to say I did, but definitely not what I had envisioned when we booked the trip.

Ringing in 2007 wasn't much better - the hub and I were blindsided by a nasty stomach flu the day after Christmas and spent much of that 24 hours in the fetal position at my ILs trying desperately to keep down saltines. We were feeling good enough the next day to drive home with the kiddo (10 months old at the time), who came down with the yuck the next day. We went to a low-key affair at a friend's house and even left before the ball dropped because we were so tired. The kiddo was still sick and we ended up taking him into the ER two days later because he was so dehydrated from not being able to keep anything down.

Celebrating 2008 started out shakily; we went to a friend of the hub's and hung out. Another friend and I totally kicked ass at Pop Culture Trivial Pursuit. But then the night was ruined by a complete and total asshat who managed to piss off at least 3/4 of the people at the party in some form by making asinine comments about everything. We left that party before midnight (had the kiddo with us) and convened back at our house with some other friends who had kids. The kids were put to bed and the adults sat around, chatted, played fun games (Apples to Apples!), drank and called other friends who lived in different states. So even though the first half of the night wasn't the best, it ended well. Though, I was too busy putting the kiddo to bed that I got my midnight kiss about 5 minutes late.

This year looks to be another bummer. The hub is sick with who knows what (no yakking, thankfully, just fever/headache/tiredness) so he's on the fence about going anywhere tonight. One of the couples that came to our little post-party party last year is hosting a kid-friendly party this year, so at the very least I can take the kids and hang out for a bit. I think I'll bypass the NYE kiss, though. I don't want to be next in line with the sickness!

Someday I'll have a Rockin' NYE with Dick Clark (he'll still probably be alive then, right?). But I guess I'll just have to watch the festivities on the TV in the meantime.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Hangover

I love the holidays.

I hate the letdown when they're done. And the mess.

It seriously looks like Toys 'R' Us threw up in our house. There are toys and boxes and stuff everywhere. Compound that with being gone the previous four days, so there are also piles of laundry, random boots and shoes in the entryway and pine needles everywhere from our not-quite-dead Christmas tree (I could have sworn we watered it before we left!).

And now we succumb to the Christmas Hangover. You know, that feeling you get after the presents are all unwrapped, the last cookie has been eaten, the last carol has been sung. The deflated, "now what do we look forward to" feeling.

Thankfully, the kiddos aren't old enough to feel that yet. I remember growing up, I used to try and make Christmas last as long as possible. We'd make mom keep the decorations up until Epiphany (which also happened to be our oldest sister's birthday). I would play my Christmas music in my room until I had to go back to school.

I don't mind winter, but January-March is just so bland without the cheeriness of the holidays.

I do have a birthday coming up, though. It's a big one, too. Hello Thirties!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Hangover

I love the holidays.

I hate the letdown when they're done. And the mess.

It seriously looks like Toys 'R' Us threw up in our house. There are toys and boxes and stuff everywhere. Compound that with being gone the previous four days, so there are also piles of laundry, random boots and shoes in the entryway and pine needles everywhere from our not-quite-dead Christmas tree (I could have sworn we watered it before we left!).

And now we succumb to the Christmas Hangover. You know, that feeling you get after the presents are all unwrapped, the last cookie has been eaten, the last carol has been sung. The deflated, "now what do we look forward to"

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The stockings were hung...

This is the first year the hub and I have been married that we're spending Christmas Eve at our house.

Growing up, Christmas Eve was the big night for us. We would spend the day finishing up things around the house and mom would make our traditional soup supper. When we had a foreign exchange student live with us when I was in high school, she taught us the Finnish tradition of rice pudding, and we've continued it since.

After our soup supper, we would head to church where we would attend Christmas Eve service, which was capped by a candlelight singing of Silent Night. We would file out of church, get our goody bags of peanuts in the shell, an orange, an apple and two mini candy bars.

When we got home, it was big present opening time. As kids, we never questioned why Santa came while we were at church - that's just what he did. And we were special, Santa came again overnight to fill up our stockings.

So this year, it's just us and the kiddos tonight. I was running around, late as usual, delivering goody plates to a few friends and doing some last-minute shopping. (Christmas Jammies! How could I not give them Christmas Jammies!) So, while we had a very yummy potato soup for supper, it was quickly eaten so we could get to church. The kiddo was very wound up (which may or may not have had anything to do with the frosted sugar cookie he had right beforehand) and didn't want to sit still. Other than that, the service was nice. It was the kids' program, but it wasn't the usual dress-em-up-as-angels-and-shepherds, it was just a retelling of the Christmas story with a lot of carol singing.

We finally made it home (the kiddo was still hopped up on sugar and kept running between our Pastor and the hub, tackling them and giving them hugs), gave the kids their Christmas Jammies, set some cookies and milk out for Santa and read the kiddo all the Christmas-themed books he owns. A few carols and kisses and he's [hopefully] off to dreamland. The hub just finished giving the kidlet her bedtime bottle and she's down for the count as well.

Now, it's time to put together the train table, set the rest of the presents out, fill the stockings, do the dishes, fold the laundry, pack for the rest of the weekend -- tomorrow we head to my sister's for my family Christmas, then it's off to the ILs for the hub's family Christmas on Saturday -- and do everything we neglected to do earlier this week because we were crazily running around finishing things up for Christmas.

Whew! Aren't they cute, though?

To my few readers, have a wonderful, blessed Christmas (or whatever you celebrate). May you spend it with those that are closest in your heart.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ten HUT!

I have a small army of gingerbread men hanging out on my dining room table, waiting for their frosting to dry so they can be put away in their barracks (and by barracks I mean tupperware) until I'm ready to either eat them or give them away.

I finally did more Christmas baking today. I'd been putting it off and putting it off because it's kind of a hassle to attempt to roll, cut and bake 8 or so dozen cookies with two little ones vying for your attention.

And I was just feeling really lazy.

But the hub entertained the kiddos at various times today so I could get the dough made and the cookies baked.

I made [yet to be frosted] sugar cookies, gingerbread men and peppermint bark. So the peppermint bark isn't technically a cookie, nor is it baked, but it does require the oven to melt the chocolate, so it's close enough.

The sugar cookies I make is the same recipe my mom used while growing up, and the same recipe my sister uses (at least I think she does). It's a recipe my mom's mother had, and she got it from someone else. My mom's recipe card is titled "Gen. Heald's grandmother's sugar cookies" so the entire time I was growing up, I thought it was some old recipe passed down from a Civil War general or something. Come to find out, when my grandma wrote out the recipe for me it's actually Genevieve Heald. Huh. I like my imaginary origin better.

It's a slightly unique recipe, because there's nutmeg in the dough which adds a nice flavor. It's what I grew up with, so it's what I like, anyway (though, really, I'm never one to turn down a good frosted sugar cookie. Or any cookie for that matter.)

The gingerbread recipe is straight outta Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. It's tasty and easy, so I stick with it.

Only the gingerbread men are decorated, though. I figured that 11pm was a tad too late to start frosting and decorating the sugar cookies. Those will have to wait until tomorrow. I need to bake another batch of poppy seed bread and make super easy peanut clusters. Some of those, along with the things I made today, will go to the kiddos daycare. I'll also make up a few plates to take to friends of ours, just because.

You know, I thought I might start losing some of the baby weight once I went back to work and wasn't eating all the live long day. You would think I would know better; I can never control myself around the holidays - there's just too much good stuff to eat.

Oh well, January 1 isn't too far away. I can work on the diet then.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Let it snow?

One thing we're used to from growing up in the Midwest is to expect the unexpected when it comes to weather.

That's why when we start hearing cries of Winter Weather Advisory! we usually just shake our heads and say "yeah, right."

Occasionally the weather forecasters do a pretty good job and manage to hit the storms right, but most of the time they don't. Which, I guess, is kind of the nature of weather - to be somewhat unpredictable, right?

We're supposed to be getting this Big Sleet/Snow/Ice storm right about now. First it would hit around 3 pm. Then they changed it to after 6. Now it's after 8 pm and we're just starting to see the first hints of sleet.

Supposedly we're to get 3-8" of snow overnight and through the morning. That means we'll either get dumped on with a foot of snow, or we'll get barely a dusting. That's how things usually work around here.

It was lots of fun when we had a big snowstorm growing up. If the electricity went off, dad would go out and hook up a tractor to the generator so we'd have one working outlet. Sometimes they'd move a TV to the outlet and we'd all cozy up and watch a movie. Sometimes we'd light a fire and cozy up around that. When it was all over, dad would dig out the driveway and paths around the feedlot and we'd have a nice, big pile of snow to climb and slide on. There were no sidewalks to worry about; no plow trucks going by at 3am; no work to get up and go to the next morning.

I'm just glad it snowed earlier this week, too. At least we're having a nice, white Christmas.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Operation Christmas Spirit: Phase Four

I've started my Christmas baking. Nevermind the fact the only thing I've managed to bake so far is poppy seed bread because it's insanely easy, but I've started.

Growing up, we made the same four things every year: peanut clusters, almond bark cookies, decorated sugar cookies and poppy seed bread. I still make those now, and if I'm feeling ambitious, will add gingerbread men and peppermint bark to the mix.

Our poppy seed bread is unusual because 1) we make it with almond extract rather than lemon and 2) it's baked in soup cans, so it's round.

But it's oh so delicious, especially with the orange juice/sugar/butter/almond extract glaze that soaks in the first 1/8" of the bread and then makes the yummy sugary crust. We've already gone through one loaf and are quickly making our way through the second.


Poppy Seed Bread

3 c flour
1 1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t baking powder
2 1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 c milk
1 1/8 c vegetable oil
1 1/2 T poppy seeds
3 eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 1/2 t almond extract

Generously spray at least 6 (16oz) soup or vegetable cans*. Beat all ingredients until well blended. Fill cans half full (do not overfill or cans will run over when baking). Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes. Roll bread in glaze while still warm. [to remove bread from cans, wait until cans are cool to touch. Gently remove bread by tapping sides of can with hand and sliding the bread out.]

Glaze:
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c orange juice
1/2 t almond extract
2 T melted butter

* Do not use the vegetable cans with the white enamel coating inside. The soup cans with the self-remove lids don't work well, either, because the opening is too small to let the bread out once it's done baking.

I think I'll go have another slice. Yum!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Operation Christmas Spirit: Phase Three

I used to sent out regular Christmas cards like everyone else. Nice, boxed cards you could buy at Target or Hallmark, and put in a letter detailing what we'd done the previous year.

Then, when the kiddo was born, I decided to do a photo card. Of course, with the resources I had at hand at my job, I couldn't do a plain one. I had to make it creative.

This is how the first one turned out:
You will not believe how many photos I had to take of him holding those letters to get three [halfway] decent ones. I think it was somewhere around 150. He wasn't exactly in a cooperative mood. And I don't think the kiddo appreciated the sweater as much as I did.

I'd seen some cute pictures using strands of Christmas lights, so the next year I'd decided to try something like that. That photo session was much more abbreviated due the kiddo not wanting to sit down for more than 3.2 seconds. I got maybe 7 photos total last year, and did some fanangling in Photoshop to make it more like I'd envisioned:
You can't even tell, though. That's the beauty of Photoshop. Those are LED lights, too, so I didn't have to worry about them getting hot to touch.

This year I didn't have any great ideas. And it's hard to come up with something that both a 2.5-year-old and a 2-month-old can "do" for lack of a better term. Thankfully, the kiddo loves his baby sister and I figured just a simple picture of him holding her would work just fine. And it did:
He's making kind of a goofy face, but hey, he's almost always making kind of a goofy face. He's just keepin' it real, yo. I just hope snapfish can get them done on time. Our letter will be fairly short this year because, really, the only thing of note that happened during the year was the kidlet's birth.

I've also been tasked with making the Christmas card for my sister the past few years. But I'll let her share those if she wants. Oh the joys of being the family member with access to graphic design programs.

I have high hopes of making some poppyseed bread and maybe even gingerbread men today. Hopefully the chitlins will cooperate (or I can make the hub watch them for a few hours while I bake).

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pa rum pa pum pum

I love Christmas music. It's some of my favorite music, especially choral/instrumental music.

Growing up, we always had to listen to Manheim Steamroller while opening presents. It never failed, we'd get home from Christmas Eve service and head to the living room where we'd see Santa had miraculously visited while we were at church (hey, that's what we did in our family). Dad would bust out the old school video camera (you know, the kind you used to have to put over your shoulder) and one of us girls would turn on the Manheim Steamroller.

I think my very favorite, though, is Harry Simeone's Sing We Now of Christmas/The Little Drummer Boy. We had the original LP, which looked like this:
But by the time I was old enough to listen to it, it had been replaced by the tape version, which had been renamed The Little Drummer Boy and looked more like this:
I don't know how many times we'd listen to that tape during the Christmas season. It was a mainstay during decorating and cookie baking and often I'd play it on Saturday afternoons in December just to have some festive background music.

I'd missed listening to it once I moved out of my parents house. My dad had tried to buy it on CD, but the one he found wasn't the original. A few years ago I did an Amazon search and found the *right* one (I checked the comments to make sure) and got it. Now I can listen to it any time I want.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Operation Christmas Spirit: Phase Three

So the tree is up and trimmed (and unsuccessfully put on a timer by the hub who thought he had it figured out but actually set the reverse of what he wanted - so our lights will probably go on at noon and shut off at 5pm), the mantel is bedecked with garland and Santas and Baby Jesus is safely in his mothers arms, surrounded by shepherds, sheep, wisemen and a lone camel on top of the piano. I even wrapped the lighted garland around the exterior stair railing before the ice storm hit yesterday (though it's still not plugged in).

Our house is about as Christmas-y as it's going to get this year.

Now it's on to shopping for presents.

The past few years my sisters and our husbands have just been drawing names to exchange gifts instead of buying something for everyone. It's much easier this way (and easier on our wallets now that we've become a two-kid household). This year our parents are even in on the exchange.

I think I know what we're getting for our respective recipients (can't share, though, because they both read this and I don't want to ruin the big surprise. Question: is it really a surprise when it's something from their list, anyway?) so my lunch hour today is going to be spent at the mall hopefully procuring said presents.

For the kiddo, we eventually found the train table that ruined my Black Friday experience (hoo boy, I didn't post about that. Long story short: I went to Toys 'R' Us at 6:30 on BF to get a train table for the kiddo, which they were sold out of. Opted to get the next expensive one after conferring with the hub. Got my ticket and stood in line for over an hour to check out. Check out and proceed to the pickup counter to get said train table. Only the bastids didn't have it in stock. Why they had a ticket but no table in stock was beyond me, and I'd wasted that hour waiting in line for nothing. They were supposed to call us when they got another one in stock but that didn't happen either. And they conveniently raised the price when they got the new shipment. Our local TRU gets a big, fat thumbs down from us.)

Anywho, as the train table is a rather pricey item, he's only getting that and two puzzles I'd bought way before we decided on the train table. He's 2.75, he doesn't care how many presents he gets.

The kidlet kind of gets the shaft. She's getting clothes and books and maybe a toy or two. It's hard - what exactly can you get a 2-month-old who already has a shload of toys from her older brother?

The most difficult is going to be the hub. Last year I surprised him with an iPod. This year I don't have any great ideas. He wants a toolbox for his pickup truck, but that's not really fun. Nor will it fit under our Christmas tree. I told him not to really buy me anything - I took advantage of a deal on a used camera bag and lens not that long ago.

Ugh. I don't mind shopping for presents, it's just so much easier when I'm shopping for things for me!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Operation Christmas Spirit: Phase Two

I'm home this morning with a semi-sick kiddo (yakking yesterday, but seems okay today. Still have to keep him out of daycare today) and starting some of the decorating.

I think I will enjoy this process much more when the kids are older and not as bossy. The kiddo says to every ornament I get out "mommy, don't hang it up YET!"

And I'd forgotten just how many ornaments we actually have. Our tree, though tall and lovely, also has some spindly, flimsy arms, which make it more difficult to hang ornaments.

I've finished putting the garland (fake, lighted) on the mantel and the piano and set the WillowTree nativity up on the piano. I even managed to find our stockings in the black hole that is our attic and hang them up.

We have an interesting assortment of stockings. Two (mine and the kiddos) my mother-in-law made and are nice, quilted and "country-esque". I like those very much; they're a lot like the ones my mom made for us when we were growing up.

The other two (the hub's and the kidlet's) are made by my mother-in-law's mother. They're of the craft-store felt-and-sequin variety and lovingly handmade, for sure, but definitely not my personal taste. I know the hub likes his because it's what he grew up with, but at some point it would be nice if they were a little more coordinated.

Oh joy. I gave the kiddo the stuffed Santa that plays my college fight song because it's about the only Santa I have that isn't breakable and he's now practicing his mixing skills with the song. The hub is really going to love that when he comes home to take the afternoon shift.

Tonight will be decorating the mantel and the few other spots that are mostly out of toddler reach with Santas. We're supposed to have a winter storm today -- we'll see if it actually happens. This is one of those days where it would be great if our fireplace worked. What's the point of having a cool old house with a lovely wood-burning fireplace if the darn thing doesn't even work? We keep saying we're going to have the chimney cleaned and the flue fixed so we can use it, but in the five years we've been married and lived in this house we have yet to do it. That will come as no surprise to anyone who knows us.

Do you think the kiddo will let me get in the shower yet? The last two times I've tried, he's been very adamant I stay downstairs. ("Actually, no. You NOT get in the shower yet.") Oh my funny boy. Did I mention the other day he told me we were going to get in a helicopter and fly to Jesus' house? Comedy people, pure comedy.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Operation Christmas Spirit: Phase One

After reading my sister's post on her Christmas memories from growing up, I decided I needed to de-Grinchify myself and try and get in the Christmas spirit. So I told the hub we could go get a tree from the tree farm today after lunch.

The kiddo had a great time running around in the snow. We cheated, though, and didn't pick and cut down our own - too difficult with a rambunctious 2.75-year-old and a sleeping 2-month-old in 25 degree weather. The farm we go to has pre-cut trees in their barn, though, so that's what we got. A 9' spruce. At least I think it's a spruce. I know it's not a white pine at least. We picked up a wreath, too, so the outside of our house looks a bit more festive.

And, after dragging it home and setting it up to warm and spread, I must admit it does look (and smell) lovely.

I'm still not too excited about digging around in the attic for all the Christmas decorations, though. That can be a job for the hub.

Yesterday I also found two of the Santa books I have by Jeff Guinn:

How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas
and

The Great Santa Search

I have The Autobiography of Santa Claus somewhere, but I fear it's been sucked into the black hole that is our basement shelves and I may never see it again. At least not until we move and are forced to clean out the basement.

I started How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas earlier today when I fanangled some alone bath time. It's nice to actually read a book again. I'd like to read them both, plus the book of Charles Dickens Christmas stories the hub got for me one year from one of his company's book fairs, before the end of the year.

So hopefully tonight I'll turn on my Christmas playlist on iTunes, make the hub drag down the lights and ornaments, decorate the tree and start feeling a little more in the Christmas mood.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Grinchy McGrincherson

I'm in serious need of some Christmas spirit.

Even with the snow on the ground, I can't seem to wrap my head around the fact that it's December already. I guess spending two months of your life stuck on the couch in your own little world will do that to you.

I used to love Christmas. I loved decorating the house. I loved baking all the holiday treats. I loved listening to Christmas music all day long. I loved how cozy and quiet everything felt with a sparkling layer of snow on it. I even loved the crisp, cold weather.

I still enjoy Christmas but I haven't had the passion for it the past few years that I used to have.

I used to deck my house all out, like this:
I collect Santas and have somewhere around 500 of them (including ornaments). Growing up, we would take the weekend after Thanksgiving to decorate the house. Turn on the Manheim Steamroller, lug all the boxes up from the basement and go to town. When we moved into our own house, I kept the tradition of decorating the weekend after Thanksgiving (only now we have to lug all the containers down from the attic). Around the second week of December, we'd go to the Christmas tree farm and pick out a fresh tree to put up and decorate.

But now, especially with two kids, it just seems like such a hassle to do all that decorating. Last year, with the kiddo being only 21 months at Christmas time and into everything, I opted to not put a tree up and only decorated the mantel, piano and radio - places where he couldn't reach easily.

This year, the hub is making me decorate, though I don't really feel like it (maybe if I procrastinate long enough I won't have to). I don't even want a tree again this year. There's no point - we're never home on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, and I never get my presents wrapped beforehand (half the time I'm lucky if I even have them bought by that time) so nothing gets set under there anyway. My Christmas wish lists consists of gift cards to two stores and two DVDs.

I don't know what happened to my Christmas spirit, but I'd like some back, please.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I am Thankful

  • For silly, adorable, chubbalicious children
  • For a loving, well-meaning, but sometime bone-headed husband
  • For wonderful, supportive families and friends
  • For our health and jobs
  • For Wine (and beer)!
It's been a fairly low-key day. We attempted to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving parade and made lunch for the three (the kidlet doesn't count yet) of us and two friends. Now, the hub is watching football with his work friend, the kiddo is running around alternating between choo choo and firetruck noises and the kidlet is chilling in the swing. She's supposed to be sleeping, but I believe that her brother's noise is preventing that.

I'm not really a Black Friday shopper, so I don't even know what the specials are. Heck, I don't even really know what we're going to get the kids for Christmas this year. Though, after looking at some of the ads online, I may attempt to go out tomorrow morning. I'll probably be up before 5 anyway, thanks to the kidlet.

Otherwise, the next three days will be spent preparing for Sunday, which is the kidlet's baptism and upon which we will be inundated with family.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'm so not ready!

Next week is my last week of maternity leave. I'm so not ready to go back to work yet!

How can I leave my sweet little chubby cheeked kidlet?
She's just begging "stay home with me mommy! Sit on the couch and eat cookies and snuggle with me!"

But I have to go back to work. I know my sister has been able to be a SAHM, but it's not in the cards for us. Even with daycare as expensive as it is (and trust me, it ain't cheap!) we're still better off financially with me going back to work. I'll enjoy the adult interaction, too.

But getting our household up and ready to have two adults and two kids out the door by approximately 7:45 each morning is going to be quite a struggle.

Neither the hub nor I are morning people, he even less so than me (yes mom, it is possible). And lately, he's been staying up even later than usual "winding down" by playing xBox. How one can "wind down" while killing evil terrorists or aliens is beyond me, but that's what he does.

I'm still sleeping on the couch because it's easier to nurse the kidlet there. Which means I haven't slept a full night in my own bed in more than three months. I don't think transitioning the kidlet to either the travel swing in our room or her crib is going to be an easy task. However, we will most likely be switching completely to formula once I go back to work (my supply completely tanked last time and I'm expecting the same again) so I won't be the sole feeder around here.

We have some good trial runs this week, though. Monday I'm meeting with the infant room teacher at the daycare the kiddo goes to (and the kidlet will go to as well starting the beginning of December) just to introduce the kidlet to her and get a feel for their schedule. That's at 9 am (thanks to the hub for setting that one up). Then Tuesday I have plans to to go DM and possibly meet my sister to do some shopping. Because my ass as expanded exponentially from sitting on the couch, I don't really have anything respectable to wear for the kidlet's baptism next weekend or Christmas. Plus, all the good malls are in DM (hello Sephora!) In order for me to drive the two hours there, shop and drive the two hours home to be back in time for my last breastfeeding support group, I need to leave the house shortly after 8.

What I'm really going to miss, though, is the ability to sit around in my pajama pants all day and not shower if I so choose. Somehow, I don't think they'd appreciate that too much at my work.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Big girls don't cry

Yesterday afternoon I got sucked into watching Bring it On: All or Nothing while nursing the kidlet. It's an extremely cheesy, straight-to-dvd movie about cheerleading. You know, one of those you're ashamed to admit you watched, but it's so bad that you can't turn it away.

I have always been jealous of those tiny, athletic girls. I have never been tiny and I am only moderately athletic if by athletic you mean I can walk a mile in under 15 minutes. I *was* a cheerleader in high school, but that doesn't count because anyone could be a cheerleader in high school. Heck, even our oldest sister, who is the least athletic out of the three of us, was a cheerleader.

See:
Nothing like having a 5'10", senior on the JV football cheerleading squad (which was somewhat of a scandal because one of the two freshman that made it on the Varsity squad also happened to be the daughter of the new cheerleading coach and until then, seniors were automatically on the Varsity squad. But I was moved up to Varsity after a few weeks because some girls quit. I didn't care, I liked Wrestling cheerleading better anyway.)

Anywho....

I fear my poor daughter will never be known as a petite flower. Already, at just past 7 weeks, girlfriend is well over 12 pounds and quickly growing out of her 0-3m clothing. I know it's just not in her genetics to be a tiny thing; how can you with a dad who's 6'4" and a mom who's 5'10" and are both very, oh shall we say, sturdily built.

I just hope she's not "the big girl."

I was "the big girl" and it's not fun. From about 4th grade until freshman year of high school, I was teased for being fat. I was never huge, but I definitely liked my food - desserts especially. And because I was emtionally sensitive (read: I cried really easily), that made it even more fun to tease me. I don't want her to go through that. Though, maybe she'll be the scary big girl and just beat up the kids who tease her. Hmm... that might be even worse.

I wish I could say I'm completely happy with my body, but I don't think that will ever happen. I wish I could be back to where I was before I got pg with the kidlet. I look at women on TV or out and about and think "I wish I could look like that." I know being 7 weeks postpartum is not the best time to be judging my body (especially after all I've done the past 7 weeks is sit on the couch and nurse and eat). I also know I can lose the weight, I did it after the kiddo. And I know I physically and mentally feel better when I'm eating right and exercising. But half the time, even when I'm "skinny", I still feel like the big girl I was in middle school.

I want to teach our kids about being healthy and active and eating right, but how can I teach my own daughter to be happy with her body when I'm not happy with mine?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Randomosity

For some odd reason, our bookmarked link to google goes to the Spanish version instead. Thankfully, I can remember enough of my high school Spanish to figure out the link to log in (and how to ask what time it is and where the library is) but it's certainly strange. I haven't bothered to take the time to figure out how to make it go back to regular google.com
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The kiddo is at that fun age where you never know what's going to come out of his mouth next. Some recent gems:
"Daddy, the excavator went home to his mommy and daddy excavator. He missed them." (upon seeing that the construction equipment that had been working on a street on the way to daycare was gone. And yes, knows the names of the different construction equipment. The best is hearing him say aerial ladder truck.)

"We've got a mission!" (upon the hub asking the kiddo how they were going to fit his winter coat into the already full locker at daycare. Methinks the kiddo has been watching too much Little Einsteins.)

"We're not going to see the turkeys. They take a nap."
(declaration on the way to church yesterday. We go by a wooded area where we often see wild turkeys.)

We really need to get a secret video camera or something because at least two or three times a day the kiddo will bust out with something that has me and the hub in stitches. The most difficult is when the kiddo *knows* he's doing something he's not supposed to, but also knows he's so dang cute we can't help but smile.
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Our movie of choice today was Love Actually.

Again, set in London and as an extra bonus, set during my favorite time of year - Christmas. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy that movie. I may have to watch it again soon!
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I'm mourning the fact that my maternity leave is almost done - I only have two weeks left. My butt will thank me for going back to work, though, as it won't be planted on the couch 20 hours of the day. I also won't be eating candy and cookies galore - even my postpartum fat pants are beginning to get a bit tight and I don't think my work would appreciate me wearing my grungy stretchy yoga pants every day. But I will miss the snuggle time with the kidlet.

Speaking of the kidlet, she's no longer entertained by the swing. I suppose I should get her out before her mild complaining turns into full-scale caterwauling.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Halloween

Only two weeks late.

The kiddo finally decided on Bob the Builder for Halloween. Sweet, it was a fairly easy costume. We went to Theisens and found a pair of overalls and the Bob the Builder hard hat and tool belt toy kit. I bought a plaid shirt at Old Navy that he can wear again and he wore his own scruffy tennis shoes. Voila! Bob the Builder:
Note the mark underneath his eye? He had a run-in with our dining room table and the table won. He also got a haircut a few days later, so he no longer looks like hippie.

The kidlet didn't dress up. She had a cute poodle costume she wore for about 20 minutes during a Mommy and Me-type group, but instead opted for the hand-me-down Halloween shirt from her cousin, LC.

It looked pretty cute even though she looks less-than-thrilled:
The kiddo didn't even get to trick or treat as we left shortly after work to head up to my parents so the hub could play farmer and help my dad out in the fields. He got more than he bargained for when he had to help contain a field fire one day.



And people say living in the country is boring.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hairstory

One of my LJ friends coined a term combining the words hair and history: hairstory. A pictoral evolution of ones personal hairstyles.

My hairstory is fraught with bad 80s and 90s hair (though not as bad as my sisters, thank goodness).

I had the usual little girl "bowl cut with bangs look"
(that's my lovely sister sporting the similar blonde 'do on the right)

I had the poodle perm through most of late elementary and some middle school (no pictures easily accessible, though, thank goodness. Let me tell you, I was one rockin' chick with my poodle perm and huge glasses.)

I kind of started caring about what my hair looked like in high school, but was always too lazy to really style it. Junior year I got it cut in "the Rachel" but rarely took the time to do anything with it.

And so began the neverending cycle of "Grow it Long/Cut it Off."

Junior year of college, it was really short:
I kind of liked it, but was a PITA to keep up because you had to get it trimmed every 6 weeks or so. And when you have it short like that, you do have to style it, or it just looks icky. So I grew it out.

It was the longest I think it's ever been right before my wedding - about to the middle of my back. That's something for my poor, lifeless, thin hair.

It was similar to this:
I'm pregnant with the kiddo here, so it was about 3 years ago.

I've gone a little shorter since then, but nothing shorter than chin-length. For a while, I had a Pob, the reverse bob as made popular by Posh Spice, but decided to grow that out to my current style: boring bob.

I'm bored with my hair again. I realized this as I was drying and styling it this morning. I hate drying my hair. Hate it. But I have to if I want it to look even somewhat remotely decent and non-bagladyish. And I never know how to style it. It never seems to look like I want it to in my mind's eye.

I'm in the middle of the Grow it Long portion of my cycle and I have to decide if I want to keep growing it out or get it cut off. I'm due for another haircut in a few weeks. Blah. I never know what to do with my hair. I'm in dire need of a date with Lady Clairol, too, to color my hair and try and get rid of the redness/brassiness that always comes with at-home color.

As an aside, I'm trying out some new shampoo and conditioner as I'd finished my Burt's Bees stuff I talked about in this post. I saw these at Target and decided to try them out:

Say Yes to Carrots Shampoo and Conditioner


I like them so far. The smell is nice, though it took a little getting used to after the Burt's Bees stuff - the Yes to Carrots is more clean and not as floral/herby as the Burt's Bees. I like how it makes my hair feel and I don't have to use a ton to feel like I'm getting my hair clean.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

London calling

In my attempt to avoid overexposure to bad daytime TV while on maternity leave, I watched one of my favorite movies last week:
I love it because it's set in London and has Gwyneth Paltrow in it.

I've been fascinated with All Things British since I was young. I don't know if it was from reading Paddington or The Secret Garden, but I've become a bit of an Anglophile. That's why I was super excited when I learned of a work-study program through my university to work abroad in London for a summer.

I participated the summer between my sophomore and junior years of college. It was the first time I'd been abroad; the first time I'd even been on a plane. We spent the first three weeks with the entire group from our school (there were about 25 of us) and after that we were on our own -- to find housing, a job and learn our way around the city.

For the most part, it was a fantastic experience. I lived in a flat in North London with 5 other people from our group. We were a quick walk to the main road, close to some pubs (but, really, you're close to a pub anywhere in London) and only 15 minutes from the tube station.

I found work as a waitress in a newly opened whisky and cigar bar in a high end part of London. It was a cool place to work, even if the hours weren't the best. I usually had the supper shift, which meant leaving my flat by 3:30 to make it there before 5 and eventually taking the night bus (which thankfully stopped about 20 yards from our house) and getting home around 3-4 am. I made enough to cover rent and food, with some fun sightseeing excursions courtesy of the Bank of Mom and Dad.

But it was still my first extended time away from home, and by the time August rolled around, I was ready to come back to the states.

I knew I always wanted to go back, though, and play a proper tourist. The hub and I got that chance a few years ago.

We had found a great deal through one of the travel websites for a week stay in London, hotel and flight included, for December 27, 2005 through January 3, 2006. We would get to ring in New Year's in Trafalgar Square, how cool!

Only we hadn't exactly anticipated getting pregnant three months after booking the trip. So I was 30 weeks pregnant, sloshing around a chilly and rainy London and couldn't even partake in any of the fun (and by fun, I mean drinking in a pub) that we had planned.

It was a mixed trip. We had fun, but were disappointed that our plans didn't go exactly as we wanted. Plus, I was huge and hormonal and probably not the best traveling partner.

Someday we'd like to go back, again, only not be pregnant, and maybe have it be a touch warmer. Until then, a few photos from our last trip there.

Clock tower at the Houses of Parliament. Big Ben is actually the name of the largest bell inside the tower.

Tower Bridge at sunset

Street scene

Fireworks over the Thames on NYE.

*sigh* I love London. In an alternate reality where I'm a billionaire, I'd have a flat there to go stay whenever I want.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I should be...

My life is full of I should be's.

Right now, I should be getting in the shower (at 4pm no less) so I can be presentable to venture out into civilization with the kidlet. Hello Target!

Instead, I'm putzing around on the internet. Before that I was watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I've gotten so sick of bad daytime TV, I've resorted to movie watching and finished both the first and second Harry Potter movies today.

I should also be folding laundry or cleaning or something productive, like finishing the kidlet's birth announcements.

The wonderful thing about working in a small publishing company is I get to play around with cool programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. I'm by no means a real graphic designer, but I can hold my own for small things for family and friends. I think I've done almost all the birthday invitations for my sister's girls.

Here's the potential birth announcement for the kidlet.

I'm kind of digging the damask-esque pattern for the background (and it kinda sorta looks like a fleur de lis if you squint and make it go out of focus). But I don't know if I'm 100% sold. I have another design that I started at work before I went on maternity leave and I need to go back sometime and put it on my flash drive so I can work on it at home.

That's another thing I should be doing.

But right now I really need to shower and get ready before the kidlet decides she needs to eat. Again. Seriously, chunky monkey likes her food. And my butt is sore from sitting on the couch all day long, nursing (and occasionally napping).

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Amateur photographer

Very amateur.

For Christmas last year, the hub bought me a very nice, very expensive DSLR camera. I'd wanted one thinking I'd take all these fabulous photos of the kiddo.

I've always been interested in photography, thanks to my dad. He had an old Pentax SLR camera with a wide angle and telephoto lens that we would take on vacations. He taught me how to use it, with moderate success. I entered the Photography class every year for 4-H, won many a blue ribbon and even had a few go to the State Fair.

In college I took a Photography class (where the aforementioned Pentax camera was stolen. Bummer.) and learned even more.

So I was very excited to get my lovely new camera last year. And then let it sit for the better part of 10 months. I'd get it out every once in a while, but I haven't used it nearly as much as I'd like, or I should, to justify the costs.

So I figured I'd break it out yesterday in an attempt to take some good photos of the kidlet to use for her birth announcement.

Yeah, that wasn't so successful. First off, she wasn't well-rested, fed and happy, which is a must when taking photos of a newborn. Second, it was kind of chilly and she had only a diaper on (I was trying to do pseudo nekkid baby shots without the chance of her peeing on my white tablecloth or black velvet backdrops).

Needless to say, the majority of the photos looked something like this:
Though we did get some interesting looks:
The photo shoot will have to wait for another day when her highness is more cooperative.

The kiddo was more than happy to have his photo taken, though:
He's in his "airplane"

Funny thing, I have a very similar photo of me in a cooler when I was around the same age:
Must be a family thing. BTW, don't you love the rust colored chair and pattered couches? Tres early 80s. My parents had those couches for 25 years before they finally got rid of them and got something a little more updated.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

You would think

That being home on maternity leave would give me ample time to do important things like laundry, clean the house and update my blog.

Unfortunately, my darling little daughter has other ideas. She likes to do three things: eat, sleep and pee. So for approximately 18 hours out of the day I'm parked on the couch with the kidlet watching Top 100 countdown shows on VH1 and bad daytime TV (oh and TiVo'ed episodes of The Backyardigans, Thomas the Tank Engine or Bob the Builder for the kiddo).

I'm doing the best I can at breastfeeding, but I have supply issues (had them with the kiddo too) and can't exclusively nurse. I have a supplemental nurser system that I use while feeding to make sure she gets the calories/amount of food she needs while still nursing on me to help stimulate my milk. It's not the most glamorous thing in the world but it's what I have to do if I want her to get any breast milk because I'm not responsive to the pump either. I'm feeling a little better about my lack of ability to nurse exclusively (it was really rough there the first 10 days) but it still sucks to know your body fails at something.

She's also the slowest eater in the world, so it takes her an hour to nurse and then she's ready to eat again in another hour. Pair that with the fact she doesn't like to sleep anywhere but on me and my couch cushion is starting to get a permanent impression of my butt.

Somehow I managed to transfer her from me to the swing without much fuss, which is the only reason I'm able to post now. I should be folding her tiny, adorable, pink laundry, but catching up on internet time took precedence. It's almost time for her to eat again, though, so she'll probably be waking up soon. Then I have high hopes of actually getting to take a shower today and maybe even venturing out into civilization. Crazy, I know...

How can you not love sweetness with cheeks like those!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Perspective

I was going to post about adjusting to life as a mom of two and the trials and tribulations I'm having, especially regarding to breastfeeding, but that doesn't seem as important now.

I just found out one of my Internet Friend's (as the hub likes to call them) cancer has come back - and has spread to her bones.

We originally met on weddingchannel.com when we were both planning weddings. We both live in the Midwest and we could commiserate on having boyfriends/husbands who were big softball players (though hers was much moreso than mine) and being a softball widow for the majority of the summer.

When the message boards on weddingchannel went down the tubes, we found each other on LiveJournal and continued our internet friendship there. We've "known" each other for more than 5 years.

She had a beautiful baby boy almost two years ago. Just over one year ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had surgery to have it removed along with chemo and radiation. A few weeks ago, her checkup showed another mass and a biopsy revealed it was cancer. Further testing revealed it has spread to her bones.

It's just not fair. She's barely in her 30s. She's a beautiful, vivacious, caring person. Why did this have to happen to her?

We're no strangers to cancer in our family - my aunt (dad's sister) had breast cancer and my uncle (dad's brother) has had recurring issues with stomach cancer for 5-6 years. Even our dad had the beginning signs of prostate cancer and had his prostate removed. But they're all older. Not to say that makes it any better, but it shouldn't happen to someone who is so young.

It's just not fair.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Whew!

After waiting and feeling this kid was never going to be born, she's finally here!

The hub and I went to my normal 39w OB appointment Tuesday and brought up our size concerns yet again with the OB. She had us schedule an u/s to check on the size, and they happened to have an opening available right after lunch.

We were shocked as all get out when the u/s tech told us the estimated weight was 10lb 3 oz! The OB must have been shocked as well, as she had us wait while she was on the phone with the OB on call at the hospital the next day to schedule us for an induction.

Our sweet [not so] little baby girl was born Wednesday, October 1, at 6:42 pm weighing in at a massive 10lb 6.5oz and measuring 22.25" long. She beat her brother by about 2 lbs and .25". I was able to deliver her naturally (with drugs, I'm not crazy!). I don't get my September birthstone, but I do have a healthy Kappa legacy. I guess opals aren't all that bad.

Monday, September 29, 2008

So bored

And this kidlet apparently doesn't think it needs to be born.

So I'm at work and bored. And the only thing I want to do is eat. I'm not hungry, mind you, I just want something to keep me occupied. There's a bag of generic grocery store iced oatmeal cookies sitting up front in our office, those will do nicely.

So bored.

I've checked all my regular sites 892 times already. I need a new form of entertainment.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I love being a girl

Well, mostly. Even though I've already admitted I'm not a shining example of a girly girl, I do usually enjoy being of the fairer sex.

So I'm really hoping this kidlet is a girl.

We decided not to find out the sex at our Big ultrasound. We didn't find out with the kiddo, and I enjoyed the surprise when he was born. I always had an idea he was a boy, but to hear it (vaguely, in my endorphin and epidural-induced haze) announced seconds after birthing was a great experience.

So I decided I didn't want to find out again with this one. Me, the girl who isn't afraid to read movie and TV spoilers on the internet and flips to the back of the book to read if the ending is any good and still sometimes searches for Christmas presents before Christmas Eve. I don't mind being spoiled, I like it even. But for whatever reason, I didn't want to know with this pregnancy.

The hub thinks its a girl because the beginning of this pregnancy was so different than my last. My mom thinks its a girl because she thinks the profile is different in the ultrasounds we did have. My sister thinks its a girl and she has something like an 88% correct rating in guessing the sex of friends and relatives babies. I usually think its a girl until that little doubt creeps in my head and says "But, what if..."

I really want a girl. Don't get me wrong, I would definitely welcome and love another boy - I love my first little tractor, football and penis (he will share with everyone the fact he has one) obsessed little boy and brothers might be kind of fun. My house will never be clean and my furniture will take a beating, but it would be fun.

But I waaaant a giiiirl. I want to get cute pink and purple clothes and dresses and frilly (but not too frilly) socks and cute shoes and hair accessories (though, chances are she'll inherit my fine, lackluster hair and those would be all for naught anyway).

I want a little legacy that I can sing sorority songs to and dress up in blue and blue and give owl and key and fleur de lis things to (I already have her lovey picked out - the kiddo has the same thing, only in the giraffe. And he has 6 of them because they get so grungy from being dragged around everywhere and chewed on that at least one or two are always in the wash).

I want to show her that being a girl is fun and that we can be strong, independent and intelligent while still accessorizing and having cute shoes. That you can learn to change your tire by yourself and still make a kickass strawberry rhubarb pie from scratch. That you can be self-reliant and still be okay with asking for help sometimes. I think my sisters and I had a great role model in our mom and I would like to be able to be the same if I had a girl.

But first, this kidlet actually needs to be born. Which can happen any time now, okay?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

All systems GO!

I accomplished my goal of making it through the weekend the hub was out of town without going in to labor, so that means we are Green Light for the kidlet. Actually, I wouldn't mind if this kid waited one more day or two, so it would be a Libra baby and can wear the supercute onesie my sister got me from BabyGAP.

See:
Supercute.

I was very grateful that my mom and oldest sister could stay with me for the weekend, Just In Case. As my other sister has mentioned before, we have the best parents in the world. They are always ready to come at a moment's notice if we need them, and sometimes even when we don't, just because they want to see us (or their grandkids. More likely their grandkids).

We (and by we I mean my mom and sometimes me) got a few things accomplished around the house: picked up and organized a bit in the nursery (which is still crammed with stuff that needs to go to the bathroom or is leftover from the bathroom); took three bags of old things to Goodwill; cleaned a bit in some of the other rooms; and made two meals to have in the freezer for when the kidlet does come (mmmm... hamballs).

I know my oldest sister means well, and she is my sister and I do love her, but sometimes I seriously wonder if we share the same genetics. She spent the weekend either 1) on the computer Facebooking or playing online games, 2) reading and/or watching TV, and 3) poking and messing with my belly trying to get the kidlet to move. Granted, she did keep the kiddo occupied for the better part of the weekend, and that did help a lot, but there were times *I* had to tell her to help out mom. My other sister and I think she's going through some sort of early midlife crisis - she's 36 and is just now starting to go out to bars and act like I did when I was in college. She's happy, though, so I guess I can't really say much.

The kiddo was happy because he loves seeing relatives. He even got a double dose - the ILs were there the night before because they went with the hub to Indiana. So not only did he get to have Grandma and Aunt there for the weekend, he also got to see Grandma and Grandpa. And Grandpa is WAY more fun than mom or dad.

That's one of the reasons we don't really like living where we do - we're farther away from family than we'd like. Both the hub and I grew up with family in the same town and they were a big part of our lives while growing up. We'd like to make sure our families are a big part of our kids' lives as well, but it's not as easy when you're 2 hours from one set of grandparents and 3 from the other (which, I know is not *that* far, all things considered, but we'd still like to be closer).

Friday, September 19, 2008

It's Friday, I'm in Love

[title courtesy an LJ friend, now I have that song stuck in my head]

It's a gorgeous Friday. Perfectly sunny, perfectly warm, perfectly perfect to skip out of a slow day at work and enjoy the day doing other things like shopping at Target. Too bad that's not going to happen, though.

The hub is gone until Sunday. My mom and oldest sister are coming tonight after work to spend the weekend Just In Case. I'm hoping we can get some things cleaned and organized around the house while they're here. Isn't that the point of having family visit? To pawn off the things you don't want to do yourself?

My LJ friend was discussing personal styles and tattoos in her journal. Considering I was always the unique/rebel/weird/creative one in the family, I did get a tattoo (two, actually) while I was in college. My first one is a small butterfly, about 3/4" square, on the top of my right foot.
One of my dorm floormates and I decided to go get tattoos after our first college final exam, kind of a celebration of sorts. I chose a butterfly, in part because of a song by my favorite college band, The Nadas, and in part to symbolize that I was on my own, flying free (cheesy, I know, but that's the kind of stuff you come up with when you're 18).

The second one I got about two months later. It's a flower, about 1.5" x 3" on the lower left part of my back. It has absolutely no meaning; it was just something I got because another friend was getting a tattoo and I went for moral support.

At some point, I'd like to cover that tattoo with something more meaningful. It'll probably be a few years, though, once I'm for sure done having chitlins.

My dad was not overly happy about my tattoos (or the fact that I had my navel pierced a few months after that - my freshman year of college was all about trying to be shocking or different or break away from the "good girl" I'd seen myself as in high school). Even now he just rolls his eyes when he sees them. I know he loves me, he just doesn't get why I had to go and "color all over myself."

Even now, at 29, I'm still trying to determine what my personal style is. Still trying to figure out who I am. I know what I am: wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend. But that core of me is still working on itself. I suppose it's a continual evolution.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Stick a fork in me

'Cause I am Done and ready to have this kidlet.

I really can't complain, I have fairly easy pregnancies. No wicked morning sickness; no debilitating sciatica; no constant migranes; no issues with high blood pressure or gestational diabetes. I have the usual pregnancy complaints -- my ass has its own gravitation pull; I'm more tired and out of breath than usual; I have a foot constantly in my ribs; and I've sadly developed more strech marks this time around.

I just grow really big babies. And even though I have plenty of height to grow these babies, they still take up a lot of room. Probably because the hub is tall/large himself and together our genetic code combines to create a super race of gigantic humans. Okay, not really, but it would be a great cheesy SciFi channel movie, wouldn't it?

The kiddo was born 7-10 days (depending on whether I want to go by my ovulation date or LMP date) early and was *still* 8 lbs 11 oz and 22" long. With a big, round head. A very big, round (well, not so round once it went through the birth canal) head.

They say consecutive children tend to be even larger. Dear God I hope not, otherwise by the time I get to our third (hopefully there will be a third) that one will walk out of the hospital wearing 3T clothes.

As of yet, my OB hasn't mentioned anything about this baby being of unusual size. She made an offhand comment about how it will probable be another 8 lb kid, but I think I can handle that. I hope I can handle that. I know I can handle that if I get a lovely, lovely epidural like I did with the kiddo anyway.

I also discovered at the previous week's appointment (wtih a different OB because I was in the "rotation") that I was already starting to dilate at 36 weeks. That kind of freaks me out because I was almost as far along last week as I was when my water broke with the kiddo. That means this kidlet could potentially come Any Day Now. We are so not ready for Any Day Now. Have I mentioned that I thought it would be okay for the hub to start a major bathroom renovation about a month ago and it's only just over halfway done and all the junk and crap and odds and ends that were previously in the old bathroom are now sitting around the nursery just hanging out with the stuffed animals and crib? Yeah. Definite pregnancy-related lapse in reason on my part. But the bathroom will be awesome when it's finished, so I suppose I can deal for now.

The hub is traveling back to Indiana this weekend for an awards ceremony at his Alma Mater. It's something he cannot miss. So he'll be 7+ hours away. I'm actually really disappointed that I can't be there with him, but that's not going to happen. Thankfully, my mom and my oldest sister are able to be here with me and the kiddo this weekend just in case I were to go into labor. I'm really hoping I won't. Really, really hoping. But anytime after the 21st is cool with me.

I'm just hoping this kidlet doesn't wait until October, becuase I don't know if I can handle that. Besides, I much prefer sapphires to opals and the hub has already hinted at a kidlet birthstone present like the one I got with the kiddo.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tagged!

My loving sister tagged me with the following meme, and I always do what my sister tells me to. :p Plus, I'm procrastinating, as usual.

1. Where were you 10 years ago?
I was starting my second year of college at Iowa State, living in the sorority house and having a generally good time mostly going to my classes and going out with friends. Those were the days...

2. What is on your to-do list for today?
Take the new mommy vehicle to get groceries, go to a department picnic for the hub's work, do some more work in the bathroom, maybe do some purging/organizing of stuff that's taking up space in the nursery. OR I may end up vegging out on the couch for the afternoon. It's a tossup.

3. What if you were a billionaire?
We like to play the "if we won the lottery" game every so often, but it's never a huge amount of money, because that comes with way too much responsibility. So if we were to come into a substantial amount of money, it would probably be used something like this:
- pay off all debts
- set up trusts for children (current and future)
- give some to ILs to move to a better (newer) house
- give some to my parents to pay them back for everything they've done for us
- give to sorority foundation, alma maters and church
- buy land in the country and build dream house. Alternative plan: take over family farms
- travel!
I'm sure there's more (like hire personal stylist, chef and trainer) but those are some of the first things we'd do.

4. Name 5 places you have lived:
Hampton, Iowa
Ames, Iowa
London, England
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Hiawatha, Iowa

Note how all of those are in Iowa except London (and I only spent a summer there)? Yeah, I don't think we'll ever be moving out of this state.

5. What are three bad habits that you have?
- Procrastinating
- Laziness
- Picking

6. What kind of snack do you like?
I'm a non-discriminatory snacker, I'll pretty much take anything that's around the house. Sometimes that even includes fruits and vegetables, though usually it's something in the C food group: chocolate, chips, crackers, cookies or cereal.

7. Who would you like to tag next?
Meh, I don't have anyone to tag.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The first step is admitting you have a problem

I'm not a particularly good girly girl. I like beauty products, I like clothes and I like getting dressed up - I'm just not always successful at putting myself together like I'd like.

It took me a while to get to this stage. I was in high school during the grunge phase so my daily wardrobe was jeans, boots and button-down shirt or sweater I pilfered from my dad's armoire or picked up a Ragstock. I'm *not* a morning person (in fact I had it timed how long it took me to get from my house to my locker at school and still make it to class just before the first bell - 6 minutes) so often I went with unstyled wet hair and little to no makeup.

That changed when I went to college and joined a sorority. I wanted to make more of an effort (well, kind of needed to if I didn't want to be "that girl" even though I'm sure I was most of the time). I discovered make-up was fun and went to the chi-chi salon in an attempt to make my lackluskter hair *do* something, anything.

I still fail at making my hair look less than bedraggled 80% of the time, but have gotten to the point where I very rarely go out of the house without makeup on. And I've discovered I have a slight addiction.

To lip gloss.

Okay, maybe more than a slight addiction. A major addiction. I swear I have no less than 30 tubes, pots, tins, wands or whathaveyou of lip gloss and/or balm stashed in various locations around the house. I have at least two in whatever purse I'm carrying at the moment. I like them all - plain, flavored, scented, colored, ultra-glossy, matte. If it goes on my mouth and isn't lipstick, it's mine.

I probably have at least half a dozen unopened ones in my catchall drawer that have been there for a few years. I see them every time I open it and think "hey, I should use that!" and then promptly forget the second I close the drawer.

My current go-to gloss in my purse is Alba Pineapple Quench clear lip gloss. It has the great benefit of being made of 70% certified organic ingredients (yay green!) and isn't overly sticky. The staying power isn't always the best, but I also have a tendency to chew off my lip gloss when I'm tired, bored or hungry, which is about 90% of the time. Plus, it smells yummy.

I'm also a big fan of the Smith's Rosebud Salve. I have both the regular and the minted, and prefer the minted only because the powdery floral scent of the regular is a bit much for me (and a certain toddler got a hand in my tin when he was about 18 months and took a big gob right out of the middle, so it's all funky-lookin'). I have the minted next to our bed and use it every night to help combat overnight dryness.

I also had a short-lived affair with DuWop Lip Venom. It's great for giving my lips (which, like my hair, are less than full) that extra oomph. Unfortunately, I lost my tube a while ago (and by a while I mean a few years) and have never gotten around to getting a new one, even though every time I visit Sephora, I tell myself I should.

Do you think there's a support group for people like me? Lip Gloss Addicts Anonymous?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where were you then?

As I'm sure many Americans (and probably many around the world today) are doing, I'm reminiscing what I was doing on this day seven years ago.

I had just started my first "real" job after graduating college and had been getting ready in my tiny bathroom in my tiny 1 BR apartment, listening to the radio when the DJ cut in on a song and said a plane had hit the WTC in NYC and that nobody really knew what was going on. I went to my tiny living room to turn on the TV and just sat on the couch for the next 15 minutes or so, watching the coverage. I called the hub (who was just the boyfriend at the time) and told him what had happened. I finished getting ready for work and drove the 10 or so minutes listening to updates on the radio.

When I got to my job (it was my second day there), it's all anyone could talk about. I kept refreshing various news sites looking for more information. There was a small black and white TV in the back room that was hooked up to a live news feed and we watched as the buildings came tumbling down. It was surreal. We were so removed, yet felt so much heartache for those who were there.

Though I'm definitely a country girl at heart, I do love the excitement and hustle of visiting the city. The hub and I had a chance to go to NYC with a group of friends a few years later and we went to the WTC site to visit the memorial.

It was touching and emotional to see and I'm forever grateful I had that experience.

Last year, the hub and I went back to NYC with the same group of friends and again, we went back to the site and memorial. Only this time, there were construction screens and equipment working and a general air of rebuilding. A very different atmosphere, but no less memorable.
I'm sure when I'm 80 and the grandkids ask what I was doing on that pivotal day, I'll be able to remember it just as clearly as the day it happened (I hope so anyway).

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Oh yes, it will be mine

For the past 3 years and change, our family vehicle has been a 2005 Jeep Liberty CRD - diesel. A lot of people gave us strange looks when we said it was a diesel. More than a few times I had guys [usually] comment "you know that's diesel fuel, right?" when I was filling it up. I usually just smiled and said "Yes" when in my head I wanted to affect a Valley Girl accent and respond "Ohmigod, for real? I just thought the green pump was supercute!"

Like this, only in black:With sweet heated leather seats (very nice in the Midwestern winters), 4WD, 6 CD changer and sunroof. Yeah, we were spoiled. The hub has a slight obsession with diesel trucks, mostly beacuse that's what they had on the farm when he was growing up. When I met him he was driving a mid-90s Dodge Diesel. Not exactly a dream date vehicle, but there was also an element of comfort (we had diesels on our farm, too).

When we had the kiddo in 2006, we managed to make it work with the carseat. The hub is a big guy (6'4") so that meant he was always the one driving on extended trips (he had to lean his seat back, gangsta style, to see out the windshield) and I was eating dash. Not ideal, but doable.

Unfortunately, with the impending arrival of the kidlet, we're going to have to get a new vehicle. There is no way in Hades we can fit two carseats plus two Amazon adults in the Jeep. Just not gonna happen. So we researched and tested and decided we really liked the GM crossovers. My parents had bought an Acadia earlier in the year and we were able to drive theirs and really liked everything about it.

So we had it all planned, we would trade in our Jeep, get the Saturn Outlook and everything would be peachy. Except the trade-in value on the Jeep sucked. Way sucked. We thought we were doomed. We even attempted to sell it ourselves in the hopes of getting a little more money for it, but that wasn't working either.

Thankfully fate (in the form of the current GM employee discount) stepped in last night and we were able to work it in our budget to trade-in the Jeep and get the new 2009 Saturn Outlook.

Like this:
Only in midnight blue (because that's what the dealer had in stock). And it will be ours Thursday! Hooray! It doesn't have quite all the bells and whistles the Jeep has (no sunroof and no multiple CD changer, though it does have an MP3 plug-in) I love it when people (ie, the bank) says "Here's $XXXXX. That will be in your account later today." Of course, we do have to pay it back and all that, but still. And my credit score totally rocks. It's even better than the hub's, ha!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Goin' to the chapel

Today is the hub's and my 5th anniversary. Five wonderful years of sweet wedded bliss. Yeah right, more like 5 years of learning to live with another person (and their messes), putting my personal needs/desires aside (especially after the kiddo was born), and growing. But I wouldn't change it for the world. Even though our marriage isn't perfect (and seriously, whose is? They're lying if they tell you that) I can't imagine being married to any other man.

Man, we had a great time at our wedding. I mean, our reception involved yummy bbq from a favorite restaurant in my college town, awesome cake
and neon rotating palm trees left over from when the reception hall used to be a disco (and then a country bar when I was in college, where Thursday nights were $5 all-you-can-drink. It was classy!)
Happy Anniversary, hub! Now go finish the fricken fracken bathroom already. I'm tired of hauling my fat pregnant ass all the way downstairs multiple times a night to pee.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Boo!

I'm kind of freaked out by the fact some of my internet mom friends are already discussing what their children are going to be for Halloween. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't like Halloween (I mean, free candy, hello!), I just don't get all up into the whole grandiose costume thing. Then again, I've never had a kid old enough to care, either, so that all my change. Soon.

Halloween wasn't a big deal at our house growing up. It's kind of difficult to trick or treat when you live out in the country. Our parents would usually drive us around to relatives and a few nearby friends' houses, but that was about it. Once or twice, when I was older, I did get to ToT in town which significantly increased my candy haul.

That meant our costumes were generally pulled together about 30 minutes prior to leaving and consisted of dress up or play clothes we had around the house. One year I was a clown (costume pulled from our dress up stash and worn by both sisters at some point before me). Another I was Minnie Mouse (skirt of my own paired with a MM sweatshirt and the MM ears I got on our trip to Disneyland when I was 6). One memorable year I was Wonder Woman (kickass WW underoos worn over flannel red footie pajamas and a WW mask. What, it was cold that year!)

So I'm completely out of my element when it comes to dressing the kiddo up for Halloween. His first year, he wore an adorable monkey costume my mother made (thank God for Grandma and her magical sewing machine). He had no clue what was going on, and it was mostly so we could take pictures of him looking cute (to be used for blackmail when he's in high school) and then eat all the candy he hauled in at the three whole houses we visited.

See:
Freakin' adorable. [That's a set-up photo, btw. He did not haul in that much loot. That was courtesy of our own candy bowl.]

Last year we took a page from my childhood and dressed him up as a farmer in things we had [mostly] around the house:
Okay, so he looks like a cross between a farmer, train engineer and bank robber, but whatever. It worked and he didn't care. [The hat stayed on for approximately 3.92 seconds, btw.]

So I have no idea what we're going to do this year. I'm almost afraid to ask the kiddo what he wants to be because he's 1) old enough to actually choose something and 2) he'll change his mind 392 times before Halloween. The new kidlet will be here by then, so I think the hub will have to take the kiddo around by himself while I stay home in our nice, cozy house, doing my tradition of watching as many Harry Potter movies as possible while tossing candy out to the hoards of grabby costumed children (and a few high schoolers that think they're funny) that grace our steps.

So, any ideas for a cute but easy (and preferably cheap) costume for a largeish 2.5-year-old red-headed boy who is currently obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine, the Backyardigans and Little Einsteins?