Friday, December 28, 2007

Weirdness

Every few days I have a really weird birthing dream. Once I was supposed to lie on my stomach for it, last night I was sitting on the side of the road having contractions.

And of course, I always wake up thinking I'm in labor. No such luck.

It's not that I'm horribly anxious to be done with being pregnant. I think I've actually had it pretty easy.

Of course, the rest of our baby furniture is arriving next Wednesday so the room (where she won't even be sleeping for a while) won't be really ready until then.

Though ideally, I'll go into labor tonight or tomorrow so we have the tax break as well as only one insurance deductible.

So. Pray for labor now. Right now. Please?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

At the Zoo...

Yesterday was the perfect day to go to the zoo! The sun was shining, the weather wasn't too cold and all of the animals were out and about. Plus, did I mention that the zoo is free in December?

Note that it may not be free next month.




We trudged through the snow in the park over to the zoo and I was surprised to see that there were actually a bunch of people there. Plus, the snack and gift shops were open.






Our zoo is quite small. I think we were really only there for about an hour max and that's with taking time to wander through the indoor exhibits as well. Granted, there were a bunch of outdoor animals that were somewhere inside. Prairie dogs don't really like the snow.





But all of the big cats and the bears were outside. And isn't that really who you go to the zoo to see anyway? We decided that it must have been almost lunchtime because they were all pacing anxiously. The mountain lions were growling and one of the bears was banging on the door to their enclosure.




There is, however, a lot of construction going on at our zoo. This summer they are opening a huge lion exhibit which looks to be pretty sweet. This lion they just purchased from San Diego and he's only two years old. Still looked pretty huge and menacing to me for being so young. Frankly, they all looked like they wanted to eat me.



Next year we are probably going to get a zoo membership. Since it is so close, it will be perfect for getting out of the house with the baby and getting some exercise and sunshine at the park.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Merry Rest

It's bright and sunny in a usually gloomy Michigan. The temperature is over 40 and today we're going to the zoo. Admission is free in the winter and we can walk to the front gate in about 5 minutes.

Christmas yesterday was peaceful. This year we decided not to do many presents for each other due to the expense of the kitchen reno and the upcoming (10 days!!!) baby.

We slept in, then made cinnamon rolls and opened small gifts over breakfast and coffee with my brother. Just the three of us. One last quiet family Christmas. Next year will surely be different!

As per tradition, we watched Elf and then made bread for gifts for the neighbors and Christmas cookies for us.

Dinner was steaks. I marinated them for two days and they couldn't have been more tender and tasty. Brother made macaroni salad and I made a cheesy potato dish. We all ate way too much and then sat around some more and watched a few new movies.

The best part? We have three more days off of work. We'll both do chores and various tasks, but there is very little agenda. A little bit of quiet before our baby storm.

Tomorrow we're getting the car cleaned out, installing & getting the carseat checked and then going out for dinner & a movie. I want to be sure we get in as much date-time as possible while we still can.

Pictures of the kitchen and my belly and other various things will be forthcoming.

In the meanwhile, what was your favorite gift this year? Mine was a fabulous acoustic recording of the Christmas song Andy wrote for me. It made me cry...

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Time, It Draweth Nigh

Last week I started having quite a few more noticeable contractions (not that it has actually gotten me anywhere) and I realized why pregnant women begin nesting.

Who knows how much time I actually have!?

Christmas presents to finish and wrap, the house to clean, the baby's room to finish, work to prepare ahead for my maternity leave, my hospital bag to pack, life insurance to purchase, the car seat to install, the kitchen project to complete, parties to have...

And my diaper bag to make! I started it Sunday and just finished tonight.


Mine is the third one I have made and it's really my favorite so far. (which is probably good, since I'm the one who has to carry it)






I added a few things here and there, but I think I still got it done in pretty good time with having to work and do a million other things this week. However, it is finished and full of all the necessary items.

Now I just need to finish all those other things on my list...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Um....it's Cold?

Sigh.

Deep, cleansing, refreshing sigh.

This weekend was our annual huge family event at the church. Months of preparation, planning, rehearsals, and hard work to pull off a fantastic afternoon for tons of families.

Even though I know there is still a lot of work to be done at work the next couple weeks, it feels like I can breathe a little easier.

Our office is finally moving...and for me that means a window. A window, I tell you! Granted, I only get to use the office for four weeks or so until I lock myself away in my home with my new baby, but they will be four weeks at a window. That makes it easier to breathe as well.

The kitchen is progressing slowly. We're still in the waiting stage although heating vents are getting put in tonight, everything else is still on order or in the mail.

And finally, a recent baby-belly picture. I don't really feel all that huge yet. I'm still sleeping through the night, still walking pretty normally in spite of the stretching & often painful ligaments and there are still a few items of my 'normal' clothes that I can wear. No swelling just yet either. I'm trying to be super good and drinking buckets of water every day, so I think that helps.

Four weeks? Seriously? Four more weeks before my life changes inexplicably. I don't think I'm scared or nervous or whatever, but maybe overwhelmed? People keep asking how much longer and Andy keeps joking, "Oh we still have until next year! Plenty of time!"

It's all fine until I actually look at that calendar...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Progress!

The cabinets & counter tops have been ordered. Now we just sit back (for three weeks) and wait. In the meanwhile, I am perfectly content with the plywood over my dishwasher (my NEW dishwasher!) and the large space under the sink without a cabinet.








Hubby finished the perfect little shelf for the microwave yesterday (more counter space!) and made up a shelf for my cookbooks as well. There are a couple little spots that need to be stained (corners and edges and the back half of the microwave shelf) but he'll do all the staining at once when the cabinets come in.






Now that the tools are put away, the floors are swept and most of my cabinets are reorganized the way I want them, it already feels like a much bigger and better laid out kitchen. The man knows how to make me happy, I'll tell you that!

Next on his list is moving the ductwork around underneath the kitchen so we have vents for heat. The one vent that is in there is currently blocked by the refrigerator and that just won't do at all. After that (or at the same time, knowing him!) will be wiring for the (yay!) new disposal and under cabinet lighting.

After everything is in and set, we'll have our tile guy come do the back splash (that's just one of those things we don't do ourselves) and then the last touch will be painting. I think it is actually possible that this project will be done before Christmas and therefore before Baby!

Saturday Photo Hunt: Hot

Living in Michigan in November, there aren't many things that are hot. I love the change of season, the falling leaves, the brisk air. But hot I am not. Even with being 8 months pregnant, my body temperature is still desirous of a cozy blanket and warm slippers.

That being said, here is a photo of my office for today. The couch was getting uncomfortable and I found it better to sit on a hard chair to type. With my candles lit and a mug of HOT coffee, I am set for the afternoon. Lots of writing to do today.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Showers Showers Everywhere! aka: Pink Threw Up In My Living Room. Not That I'm Complaining. Plus other random information as well...

**Updated: Now with pictures!**

This past weekend was family and shower central for me.

Friday night we drove to New York in the evening and got in late to a girlfriend's house. They had just bought a spare bed so we got a great night's sleep and then woke up early to go to my first shower of the weekend.

I'm always amazed by how easily I forget people. Not who they are, how they fit into my life, or my memories of them, but their names!

I finally devised a foolproof method for matching up names with faces. Whenever I would open a present from someone, they got to ask me a question about myself or the baby or whatever. So I would say who the present was from and then wait for them to ask the question. Most of the time it worked pretty well...

My mom even got presents at my shower. One of the ladies brought two photo albums for her so that I can send her baby pictures and the nurses can fill it up for her. I think I'll start with sending her ultrasound and preggo pics.

She did pretty well and only tired about halfway through the shower. I was glad we were able to have the shower at her nursing home so she could be there for it.

Saturday night was a family wedding that Andy & I sang in and he did all the music for. It was fun to see so many family we haven't seen in a long time and it was such a beautiful wedding.

I am always entertained to sit with Andy while he's playing a pre or postlude. I throw out a song and wait for him to find a way to play it "background music" style. Like Sexyback or something by Usher. His classic song to work into any event is the Menards theme song. You won't know he's doing it unless he tells you. And of course, he played through most of Switchfoot's bests.

A few of my family weren't able to make it to the shower Saturday morning, and decided to come over to my Grandparent's on Sunday with their gifts. That became mini-shower #4.

Monday was the shower with the girls on my Dad's side of the family and we had a fabulous lunch together and took tons of pictures. What do you think, do we look like we all belong or what!?





Now we are home and organizing the gifts. Piles of onesies by month, booties in one box, hats in another. A few returns and lots to wash. I still need to buy the chemical-free baby detergent.

So much to do, so much to do.

Still on the list:

1. Pick a name.
2. Make a will.
3. Get life insurance.
4. Buy the rest of the necessities. Like a mattress for the crib.
5. Finish thank-yous from this weekend.
6. Find a pediatrician.
7. Make Christmas gifts and ornaments for an ornament exchange.
8. Finish the kitchen.

Number 8 isn't really part of my list as much as it is on Andy's, but we'll count it anyway. I get to do the organizing once everything is in and attached!

Just a Guess

Ok, here are my guesses...

1. Stacey
2. Talena
3. Jean
4. Hillary
5. Beth

Am I close? How'd I do?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Doing Some Serious Damage

What is it about Rice Krispy Treats that make me feel as though, well, as though it's absolutely ok to eat the whole 9x13 pan.

I tell myself it will stop at two little bars. And then my husband brings me another one. (yes, I am absolutely blaming it on him)

And then I get myself the fourth one.

Maybe I should lock them up somewhere.



I realized last night that the NaBlo thing? Wasn't going to work out for me. We're leaving this afternoon for NY and family weddings, showers and get-togethers all weekend. I'm pretty sure we won't have anywhere to link into for a few days, and even if we did, I'm not sure we'd have time.

So you all go on back to that anonymous post and get to it. There should be way more comments. I'll do my best to guess who you are on Monday! There are inklings in my brain...but you guys are good!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wild Wednesday Wordery

I stole this meme from Heather Anne. One of those blogs that I read because of her fabulous writing.

Comment ANONYMOUSLY! Leave the answer to these in the comments and I will try to guess who you are from your answers!

1. One secret.
2. One compliment.
3. One non-compliment.
4. One love note, but it does not have to be for me.
5. Lyrics to a song.
6. How old you are.
7. How long we've been friends.
8. And a hint to who you are.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Highway Scare

Tuesdays we usually try to leave work a little bit early so we have time to run a bunch of errands.

Today included:

1. Stopping by the library to select a bunch of books on CD for our upcoming weekend road trip.

2. Hitting the grocery store for milk, cat food (she's been pretty angry at us for the past two days with her empty food dishes), frozen lunches for the next couple of days, paper towels and hair dye. (Gotta cover those greys before my shower, now don't I?)

3. Checking in at The Wood Source (best new-found store in town!) regarding our cabinet doors (that still aren't working quite right) and some hardware for a microwave shelf.

4. Driving to the teacher's store to stamp out some foam letters for tomorrow's family event and watching a truck in front of us take the off-ramp too fast, swerve onto the grass and roll four times.

Wait, what was that?

We immediately pulled over and called 911. Andy passed me the phone and then ran over to make sure the guy was ok. He was getting out of his truck. He was also on the phone calling for help. He seemed fine. Fine. I doubt he'll feel quite so fine tomorrow, but there didn't seem to be any real injuries.

There's a good reminder to everyone to wear your seatbelt, huh? We were both still freaked out after we left the teacher's store. As we drove back onto the highway, we saw a police car and fire truck taking care of the accident.

We'll be taking ramps a lot slower now.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Here's to a More Productive Day

*two aprons completed and wrapped for gifts this weekend

*two loads of laundry washed and folded

*one load of dishes washed! In the NEW dishwasher! and then emptied and reloaded!

*one meal prepped, cooked and eaten with friends who just brought home their newborn

*one tv show watched while putting my feet up

There are many of you out there who have accomplished a lot more in your day, but I have to be happy with what I've got.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Stalling

Ugh and double ugh. First of all, I hate feeling as though I can't do anything. I have a couple sewing projects I'm working on and there's the laundry. But hubby has to pretty much do all of the kitchen work on his own. Right now it's all about chemicals and I'm definitely out of that game.

I don't think he begrudges me not stripping the cabinets and trying to make the stain work (cuz it's not) but I begrudge me. I know, I know, you don't have to tell me that I shouldn't and I have a good excuse, I still feel unhelpful.

Guess I'll go fold laundry.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Ah Crap.

Well, I knew I wouldn't really make it. What if I back-date this so it looks like I did? HA! You'll never know now, will you!?

It's more that I just couldn't top hubby's amazing post yesterday. Well, who could?


I went to the strangest thing today (yesterday, but who's counting?). It was billed as a "baby safety event" but I knew going in that it would be a sales pitch. They were giving out a free gift package and I was surely hoping that it would be a great big pile of baby stuff and therefore figured it would be worth my time.

Coupons. A great big pile of grocery coupons. Fortunately, it is an online deal where I can choose what items I want coupons for rather than just random ones I may or may not use. So all in all, it was a valuable gift as intangible as it seemed at the time.

Oh, and of course the obligatory "free" mini vacation. I haven't checked yet, but I am hoping there will be a Michigan location option so we don't have to fly somewhere.

I'm pretty critical of public speakers and presenters. I've done quite a few presentations in my day, and have studied communication in its many forms, so I feel I can be critical. Though it's way more fun to be critical when you have someone with you to comment with and I was alone. So that wasn't quite as entertaining...maybe that's why the whole thing made me so grumpy.

The guy presenting? I did not connect with him on any level whatsoever. He was unprofessional in his dress, manner and speech. Plus, he kept using male cliches to relate to the men in the room which I found inappropriate. Like I said, my husband wasn't with me, but those cliches don't reflect his manner at all ane I am always irritated when men are continually put down and expected to act in a certain way.

For a baby presentation, I felt there was a huge lack of warmth or nurturing. I did learn some interesting things about baby safety, but this man made it seem as though every product on the market was likely to kill my child. Even items that weren't in competition with his products.

It was just such a bizarre experience.

Not to mention one of the dads who was sitting in front of me who, quite literally, burped at least once every minute. For two hours.

Think about that for a minute. It was so. Gross.

Obviously, he has some kind of medical problem as the woman with him did not seem to notice at all, but couldn't he possibly do something about it? Ever heard of TUMS!?

And of course, as I left the BABY SAFETY session, there was the slew of people who were lighting up their cigarettes.

Like I said, bizarre.

Friday, November 09, 2007

crazy friday...do i need to alliterate?

Hi interwebers!

Andy here filling in for the wife so that she can keep up with NaBloPoMo. First, the title of the post...since this is a blog post, doesn't the adjective for Friday have to begin with an F? like "Music Mondays" or "Tornado Tuesdays" (if you're blogging from Kansas). Thing is that I just can't think of anything good that starts with F. Any suggestions, place them in the comments! So there you go...no, not that...common, keep it clean people!

But as the title suggests, it's been crazy. you know how I know? I still haven't finished reading all my emails from today. When I can't even make it through the inbox then that means I've had too much to do. So now I'm obligated to type you all about it!

I promise to keep it short. Mostly it was all because tonight we had a rehearsal for our CD release party. That's right: CD release party. Saturday night at 7 PM in the Church atrium. Food, Music, CDs...come on out, it should be a good time. Live far away? no problem, I'll send my jet for you. Well, not much more need be said. Rehearsal involves setup and planning and as such my day was filled!

So, one more item of business. No self respecting blogger posts without a picture. Hold on, let me browse...Ah, here's a good one. 10 points if you can name the guy in the photo (not me, duh! The other guy) Hint: Country Music...

This is a Pic from the airport in Nashville. I was on my way back to MI from some mixing sessions and ran into _____ _____ while walking down the terminal. Ha! you almost thought I was going to say his name...well I'm not that easily tricked into giving away 10 points!

Alright! I think I've filled my blogging duties well. Now fulfill your commenting duties. clicky below!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Progress?

A few steps forward in the kitchen reno.


1. Sheet of plywood in the spot where the fridge will go. The cabinet that was sitting here fit specifically into the tile. Also note the hole that the plywood is covering. Ducts will need to be moved to allow for some heat in this cold kitchen!





2. I'll bet you wish we were keeping this amazing vinyl flooring, don't you? It sure is my favorite.







3. The new dishwasher (!!!) sitting in place next to half of a former cabinet. Wires and pipes sticking out everywhere. Also: note the dirty dishes on the counter? Hopefully those will be getting washed tonight!




4. Voice mail was received tonight from the counter top installers wanting to schedule a measurement time. We are hoping that will be Monday morning.

Also of note (if only to us) is the wood supply store that we discovered this evening. They had the exact stain we needed, many odds and ends for those of us who own older homes, great advice for our project as well as an extremely sweet corner bench and table that we have always wanted for kitchen seating!

We aren't yet sure if we are going to try to find a way to fit that into our budget, but we're pretty excited to actually find a place that has what we have seen in our heads for years.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Design! Design!

Once a year a local paper products company has their clearance close-out discount bargain sale. (Could I have been any more redundant?)

It's seriously the best sale of the year. Hands down. Gift bags? Fifty cents. Patterned, colored tissue paper? Ten cents. Paper plates & napkins? A dollar. Stuffed bunny? Two bucks.

Stock up for the whole year. Put aside some things as gifts and some for you.

Plus, it's such a rush. The mad grab for an empty box to put everything in. Shuffling through all the cards and bags and papers. Finding new items put out on the table every few minutes. You don't want to miss a thing, so you walk back through the whole room again just to be sure.

Insanity. But totally the funnest shopping, the most chaotic atmosphere, the most amazing bargains you will find all year.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Signing My Life Away?

No, we haven't purchased life insurance yet. That's still on the to-do list.

Instead, tonight we ordered new counter tops for our kitchen. Frankly, I'm pretty excited about it.

Ok, here is my fancy-shmancy diagram of the current kitchen. You get the idea. Under the sink there is a dishwasher. It is probably as old as the kitchen itself and doesn't work as much more than a dish-getter-wetter.

The counter tops are weird looking fake white & gray marble with nicks, scratches, and plenty of kool-aid stains. I have never liked the counter.

But they've been serviceable.


Here is why we have need to replace the counters. The main purpose is a new, working, energy saving, sterilizing, larger interior space dishwasher.

One we won't have to run twice to get the dishes clean. One that will fit more than a single meal's worth of dishes inside.

As you can see by my second fancy-shmancy diagram, the fridge will be moving and the cabinet unit which was in the fridge spot is
going out and a smaller one is going in.

The dishwasher will then be where the fridge is currently and the counter top extended over the top of that as well as a small cabinet next to it.

We have a new sink that was given to us when friends of friends were remodeling their kitchen. It also has a lovely disposal attached which we are greatly looking forward to having.

The plan was to go with a nice laminate, have Home Depot install it and carry on our merry way. Initially, we both wanted a solid surface, but after pricing it all out, we discovered it wasn't really best for our budget. I was ok with the higher cost for the many benefits, but hubby put his rational foot down.

Tonight when we went in, we had them do the official quote with all of our measurements.

Turned out that it was more to do the laminate than we originally assumed and less to do the solid surface! Well, hooray for me! I actually get the counter I really want!

The overall cost was higher than we would prefer, but we got the 10% discount for a new HD card and have a few months to pay for it. Plus, we have a few things lined up already to help cover the cost.

Now we wait for the installers to come and make their exact measurements, order it up, and get it installed! Tomorrow hubby is going to be moving the cabinetry, fridge and other sundries around.

I cannot wait for my "new" kitchen!

Monday, November 05, 2007

The thing about babies...

...is that I want to buy more stuff for them than for me. I suppose that's a good thing, right? Consumerism plagues me like any other American, but since both my hubby & I work for a church, we:

a) know we don't want to get wrapped up in meaningless "stuff" and

b) can't afford it all anyway!

But the cute baby things? SO cute!

My heart has been full to bursting with all of the gifts we have received. We have already had two amazing showers and there are still three more to come! It is so much fun to celebrate this crazy little monkey wiggling around inside and such a blessing to have friends and family provide what we need for her.

Saturday one of the ladies who volunteers to teach in our children's ministry gave me a pair of sweet pink & green booties she had knitted for the wee one.

Sunday a friend who serves on the music team with Andy gave us a cute little pink bunny costume.

Today I got a fabulous surprise gift in the mail! A friend from one of my former jobs sent us the cutest pink & brown onesie. James, you ROCK!

It's such a reminder that I need to stop stressing about how we're going to "make it" when I don't work as much in the spring, not to mention while I'm on maternity leave. We need to make wise financial decisions and be ever so careful with our money. But so much has already been provided for us that I know we will be able to make those wise choices and get by just fine!

Thank you, my friends. I feel as though I don't deserve your love and your care, but I appreciate it so very much.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Squishy

Everyone keeps asking me if the baby is kicking? How am I feeling? Man, you look great!

Well, first of all, thanks. I still feel pretty good. I know the time will come when I don't look so hot and am just huge and big and icky. So I'm reveling in the still-cute-phase.

The tiredness comes easily and following on it's heels is the grumpiness. Not to mention the laziness. Some nights it is so hard to get myself off of the couch!

Kicking? She doesn't do a whole lot of that. Though the other day when I was reading, I noticed that my book was jiggling up and down quite a bit. Frankly made me a little seasick.

No, instead there is a lot of pushing and shoving and stretching. Most of the time I try to push and shove back. Feet don't need to stick out of my belly, thanks--they can stay right inside where they belong!

There's still a lot to be done around here before baby is allowed to arrive:

1. the crib is coming Tuesday (fingers are still crossed on the rocker, cradle, dresser & bookcase)
2. kitchen needs to be remodeled
a. countertop will be ordered tomorrow
b. installation of said countertop
c. buying and putting in a few new cabinets
d. moving refrigerator and new dishwasher in
e. installing plumbing for new dishwasher and new spot for refrigerator
f. tile the backsplash
g. repaint
3. all of the teeny baby clothes need washing and put away
4. garden needs to be winterized
5. bulbs to be planted and hid in the basement for late winter forcing
6. we haven't yet talked to an insurance rep to get life insurance
7. wills need to be made out

Geez. I'm even more tired now. I guess we'd better get to work, huh? I'm planning on at least potting some bulbs tomorrow...can't promise much other than that.

Even worse is the fact that I'm sure there are a bunch of things that need to be done that I'm completely forgetting.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Saturday Photo Hunt: Classic

Guest blogging with us today is my hubby. This was the first thing that came to mind for me in our home that fits under the "Classic" title!

"So, I'm supposed to explain why this is classic...go buy an album by Jimi Hendrix or Led Zepplin and you'll get it!"


And that folks, is that. The classic guitar amp by Marshall.


Friday, November 02, 2007

What a Pain in My Butt

One of the joys of pregnancy is having your blood drawn. Golly, that's just one of my favorite things. At my very first OB visit they took five vials and I just wanted to cry. The lab tech informed my husband that it was so very horribly painful and he had sure better take me out for dinner that day.

He did.

They discovered at that drawing that my blood is Rh Negative. I don't really know what all that means other than the fact that I had to get a protective antibody injection. Yay me!

Those folks who need this shot are supposed to get it at 28 weeks...

31 is close to 28, right?

Due to our recent floor refinishing, paperwork and other random important documents got rather misplaced.

This past weekend, while finishing up the cleaning and reorganizing, I discovered that I forgot about the needed shot.

Fridays being one of the only days of the week we have available for running outside errands, today I was taken to the med center. Frankly, I don't quite understand why they weren't able to just give me the shot at my OB's office, but that was the case.

More blood was drawn. And then the shot.

She said she'd never heard that it was all that bad.

She said I'd just feel the poke.

She lied.

I felt the poke all right, and then the stabbing pain as the medicine went in. Now I'm feeling the ache in my tush as I sit on the couch. Perhaps I need to get a little ice pack to sit on.

As I left she said, "Well, that's nothing compared to labor!"

Thanks for the encouragement, lady. I'm trying to put off thinking about the labor part for as long as possible!

Not Just For Babies Anymore...


I knew it would come to this. But everyone loves a cute pink stroller! We finally decided we had better fold it up so it wouldn't be completely covered in cat fur. It's too bad though, sure does look comfy.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween '07

Tonight was the third annual Shaun of the Dead Halloween movie-watching. We decided to make a party out of it.

In spite of the rain, there were still plenty of trick-or-treaters and the full-to-the-brim cauldron now has only a small layer of "the good stuff."





A few costumes for your viewing pleasure. Who do you think won best costume?


A fabulous dread pirate.













College Student. Always a clever cover for "no costume, thanks."












The "great pumpkin" and her pumpkin farmer.











Buckethead guy. Now really, who can top this creativity?













And of course, the monk and his pregnant nun. What's that you say? You want a close-up of the pregnant nun? Anything for you, dear internet.







Pregnant nun* at 31 weeks.













I also made a Monster Cake for the occasion...He turned out pretty well for the time I had. Really now, I don't know how they make these as perfectly as they look in the pictures.





And since it is now 12:02 am, this is officially my first NaBloPoMo post!! If you haven't signed up yet, you'd better get on it. Happy November everyone!

*Please no offense to any actual nuns or Catholics...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Highly Suggestible

Everyone keeps asking if I have had any crazy pregnancy cravings.

You know the type.

3 am finds me in the refrigerator with one hand holding the pickle jar and the other digging through various leftovers while at the same time I am finishing off a bowl of cookie dough ice cream.

But that hasn't happened. There was the one time that we were at a bbq and I discovered I had to go out for donuts immediately. Last week I was in dire need of a grape slushie.

I think those are pretty isolated incidents thus far.

However, you can pretty much convince me within a short time span that I want whatever you tell me that I want. Commercial for KFC? Honey, you'd better put your shoes on. Chocolate chip cookies? Get out the baking sheets. Breakfast for dinner? Great Dan, just great. Thanks a ton.

My omelette wasn't quite as pretty as his frittata. Nor is it as fancy a word. But boy, was it yummy. Fresh out of the garden red bell pepper, onion, eggs, (mixed with my secret ingredient) tomato, bacon, and feta cheese.

Since it was breakfast for dinner, we might as well make a pot of decaf as well. Foamed milk and mocha mint creamer.

Delectable. Now, what should I have tomorrow?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt -- Pink


I love having a reason to take pictures so I thought I would join up with the weekly scavenger hunt...

Pink for me is the easiest thing to find around my house at the moment. We have pink gift bags full of pink onesies and pink sleepers, a new pink & brown stroller and car seat,(which I LOVE, thank you family!) , pink teether toys, pink bibs, pink blankets and handmade afghans and hand sewn quilts.

But I got another fabulous pink gift in the mail on Tuesday. It was even better because I received it at my work address and who doesn't love a present at your desk when you get to work? (Which has been happening quite frequently lately since my huge church shower!)

Blogger Kerrianne sent me these sweet pink booties. I have determined that I am going to learn how to sew them and make them in every color possible...





Friday, October 26, 2007

Brownies! From Scratch!

I don't think I've ever made any better...nor will they ever be able to compare again. Growing up, I always made brownies from scratch but they were never really amazing. So I gave up started using the box mixes and adding to it a box of chocolate pudding. Even if it was a generic brand of brownie mix, the pudding made it spectacular.



Last week, I thought I would be a little more domestic than usual and try anew to made a great pan of brownies from scratch.

Ok, I realize it's probably not all that impressive. But I don't
bake all that often so I need to pat myself on the back a little.


Although today I did make an amazing chocolate cheesecake. I'd show you a picture, but it's in the oven and cheesecakes are rather sensitive creations.

Just know that it melts in your mouth and will have shaved chocolate, home made cream and fresh raspberries on top.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

It's All Free!!

Can I just say how much I love Freecycle?

With all the house projects going on lately (more pictures and posts on that! How-to's for everyone!) there are many things that I am finding I don't want, don't need, and can't possibly keep around anymore. Lightbulbs, little tables, books, bags, the list goes on!

So why not just have someone else come take it away for me? Good stuff needn't be thrown away. It needs to be claimed as new by someone other than me.

If you're not signed up with your local freecycle group, check into it and see if you have one. It's a great way to reuse still-good items. Plus, you never know what you'll find for yourself on there!

My next step is listing my for-sale things on Craigslist. We need to make some money for those many house projects...

Monday, October 15, 2007

When BAD is Good

Blog Action Day. I've been reading a lot of different blogger's environmental advice posts today and been really excited about what is going on. It's so easy to see all that is wrong with the world and how many people give no thought for the environment at all. However, there are a lot of good people doing a lot of good things.

Whoorl
listed healthy, environmentally safe cleaning products. I was just about to pull out a notebook and pen (or at least bookmark this particular post) when I realized I use a lot of these products already! My goal is to start finding ways to make a lot of my own cleansers as well.

Wardrobe Refashion is a site that is already dedicated to reusing and recycling as much as possible. You sign up with a commitment for two, four or six months that you will not purchase any new clothing. If you need something you will remake an item you already have or sew something new, usually from thrifted fabrics. I haven't gotten around to making this commitment, but I have become much more conscious of not buying new clothes. My expanding belly makes it hard, but I seem to be pretty content in my options.

LAB didn't say she was posting necessarily for blog action day, but yesterday's read was chock full of fabulous suggestions to reduce one's carbon footprint and make wise choices.

Ok, just one more. another tangential thinker listed a bunch of great things she has chosen to do since she just moved into a new home.

Lots of great ways we can be smarter about how we live and what we live with. Today I'm burning candles rather than turning on the heat. It's not quite cold enough for the heat yet. Plus, since we (again, we meaning Andy) are sanding two rooms worth of hardwood floors, we have the vents blocked off and it wouldn't be such a great idea to blow the sawdust all over the house!

As soon as the floors are done and it is time to turn the heat on, we're going to get a duct cleaning done. This will improve our airflow and reduce the amount of heat we need to use and help with dust as well.

I'm planning on getting my garden winterized today. Pile some leaves and heap some nutrient-laden dirt so that next year my veggies will grow better and more of my garden will be usefully productive.

What are you doing today to be wisely active?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Nu Uh!


Talena
awarded me the Rockin' Girl Blogger Award.


Funny, this award matches the Rocking Guitar I want someday.





Or do I want this one? Ah, it's too hard to decide.


Which reminds me that I need to practice. I have to say I have practiced twice this week, which, granted, is not a lot but it is way more than usual. Since hubby is upstairs grinding the floor down (and it is looking fabulous, I must say!) now is a perfect time for me to work on my chords. (edited to add: I started this post at 6 and now it's 8 and I haven't practiced yet. Ok, Ok, I'm going!!)


You know who I think rocks? Jean. How she juggles the kids, the working from home, the cooking for other people, the home improvement...I sure don't know. But she rocks. She misses me after two days (truly it felt like a week!), keeps me sane when my world is falling apart, encourages me in my every venture and never fails to warm my heart. Plus, next week she gets to fill in for me at my rock star job! Take the award, my friend! You deserve it.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Swallowing My Pride with My Coffee

No one ever wants to admit that they were wrong. No one especially wants to admit that they were wrong twice. I guess I'm not saying I'm wrong, was wrong, whatever, but my admission is still embarrassing for some reason.

We had to get rid of another kitty. Me, a lover of all things furry and kitty-like, had to send away another member of my furry family. It's depressing, is what it is. It's admitting that I've failed as a kitty-mommy.

Clara was angry. Deliberately pooing two feet away from her litter box. Not every day, but at least three times a week. We tried changing the brand of litter, wiping down the inside of the box, keeping her in her own space, etc and etc. After a few months, she got madder and starting peeing two feet away from the box.

I put off "the talk" for as long as possible. She was really hubby's kitty. She preferred him over me any day. I didn't want to be the one to tell him that he had to get rid of his lap warmer, his music muse, his adoring little fluffy girl. Plus, I wasn't the one who had to clean up after her. But I also knew that I was done with the whole situation.

Last week hubby went to a leadership conference for several days in Atlanta. In my "condition" I'm not allowed to have anything to do with whatever comes out of the cats so I knew she had to go before he left on his trip.

Now, a week later and a kitty shorter, we are in the process of refinishing the floors in that room. Today we bought the replacement boards (yep, she ruined some enough that they were rotten and needed to be completely replaced), stain, and the needed accessories. Sometime this week we'll be renting the floor sander to strip the carpet glue and random paint from the hardwood. Honestly, we have been wanting to do this project for years, but this is just a crappy situation that it had to come through.

Cammie, our now-single kitty, seems to be adjusting well. The first few days she was extra needy and cuddly and I sometimes wondered if she was looking around for Clara. But at the same time, I think she likes being an only kitty, having all the attention. Fortunately, she has never had any accidents and doesn't seem to have any emotional problems for us to worry about. Let's just hope she likes babies. I don't think I could handle giving up one more.

Monday, October 01, 2007

How To Build a Brick Tree Ring

When you have limited yard space due to city living like we do, you may look for any spot available to brighten up the yard and plant flowers.

I've been wanting to build a brick ring around our tree between the sidewalk and the street for quite a while. Once we noticed the bricks on sale at Menard's we decided it was time.

They delivered our bags of top soil and bricks (rather than us making ten or more trips to cart it all in our car) and I got to work that very day.

After I measured and laid out the spacing for my bricks, I recruited Brother Bear to dig the trench around the tree. The ground wasn't too uneven, but I knew if we didn't dig at least a shallow trench, the bricks wouldn't lay properly. If you're going to do it, you have to do it right! Right?









Then the leveling takes place. Each brick, one at a time needs to have the ground smoothed, leveled and filled in as required. You should make sure that if there is a dip or your ground slopes that the bricks at least match up one to another. Now, I did not use a level in this process. When we built the retaining wall we did, but since I was only going three bricks high I made sure that it was flat from brick to brick but wasn't worried with absolute perfection.

Once you have the first layer done, the hard work is virtually over. (Other than the brick-carrying, of course!) Using a caulk gun and cement-like mortar, I put a squiggly layer on the bottom brick and lay the next over it, covering the joining gap. I forgot to take a picture of this step. So just picture a squiggle of cement glue and then me putting a brick over the squiggle. This keeps the bricks from shifting too much.

The trick to the second layer is chiseling your last brick in half. Make sure you're wearing protective goggles and not near any neighbor's cars...your eyes and your neighbors will appreciate this. I used a large brick chisel with a hand guard and my hammer. It doesn't seem to be an exact science and by the end I was just hauling away at the brick with my hammer. But it finally fit and no one is the wiser!

My last level was the easiest as it was just cement glue and laying the bricks on to finish it off. Hubby dumped all my dirt into the ring and I leveled it up and topped it off with a bag of Miracle Grow mix for extra nutrients.

Then comes my favorite part: the planting! I picked out black, dark purple, blue, and white as my primary colors and planted bulbs of tulips, muscari and hyacinths. Among those I put a good amount of bright white & yellow daffodils. I should have a good mix of early, mid and late spring flowers.

Above ground, you can see a few pots of cheerful fall mums. I wanted this to be as maintenance-free of a garden as possible, I chose all repeat customers. Gotta love the perennial! Most likely next year in late spring after the bulbs are done I'll plant piles of petunias, pansies and marigolds among the mums. This may also be a perfect spot for either morning glories and/or sunflowers.

Now I just have to wait until April. I hate waiting.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I Know I'm Not the Only One

Anyone else excited about Premier Week!? I know I am!!

Heroes on Monday
Grey's Anatomy & The Office tonight. And REALLY. Why did they have to schedule them both at the same time? Why do the executives at ABC & NBC hate me so much? Why?
Desperate Housewives & Brothers and Sisters on Sunday night.

Boy oh boy. Tonight the house is open to watch your choice of show. I don't know what to do. My DVR won't let me tape one and watch another. I think I might be taping The Office on our little tiny bunny-eared tv. Yikes!

Sunday, be ready to come over and start the festivities at 9 sharp!! Popcorn will be hot, buttery and fresh; Kool-aid will be chilled.