Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fear of sharing

So, I spent some time adding some stuff to some baby registries the other day.

Thankfully, due to friends and family with babies already, we've got a lot of stuff covered. Hand-me-downs and some "let me buy this from you for super cheap" have really put a huge dent in the "stuff we need" column. This pleases the penny-pinching* part of me and the crossing-stuff-off-of-lists part of me as well. Also, watching for sales on stuff has allowed us to stock up on more than a full day's worth of cloth diapers so far! Go us! I feel accomplished.

So I set out to fill the gaps in our "have" list by putting stuff onto registries, and while I was doing it I felt great. I'm making decisions! I'm asking for stuff! Then, when I was done, the thought occurred to me that I would have to share these lists with people. People who have babies. People who might think certain things about me based on my choices for MY baby. People who have babies and think that the stuff I'm asking for isn't right for babies. I was caught up in one of those incredibly self-centered, self-conscious bouts of over-thinking where I'm convinced that people merely tolerate me, or just put up with me to be polite, because I'm still a 13 year old GIRL sometimes.

Don't worry, I found my big-girl panties and will be putting them on and coping with those stupid thoughts and eventually sharing those lists with the people who need them. Besides, I had lots of good input for those lists. People with babies told me stuff they liked, and at least two of those people actually agreed on some stuff, so that was helpful. I've tried to heed internet advice when it seemed to make sense. I mean, I'll be honest. I used to babysit and I've got 4 niecephews & a friend's kid whom I've known since birth, but that's pretty much the extent of my knowledge of babies. I watched, and I remember some stuff, but not all the details of what you need at the house to cope with a tiny person living there and relying on you 100% for 100% of their lives... I know what an aspirator IS and why you need one, but I don't know how to use one. Someone will show me how to do that, right? Is there a class for that? I know I'm supposed to steal the aspirator they give me at the hospital. That much I remember. Anything else I should swipe while I'm there? Any of y'all had a baby at MCD? Tips? Tricks? Helpful reminders?

I'm ready to be unprepared for stuff no matter how many things we buy. I mean, as ready as you can ever be for unexpected stuff. I expect there to be unexpected stuff.

And speaking of unexpected stuff--If you ever want to be freaked out about giving birth, just go to lunch with my boss & co-workers. Man, do those ladies have some scary stories. Dropping the baby out at 3AM in the hospital laundry room?!? They're better than the internet sometimes...

*Now I have visions of pinching this Penny, which I wouldn't do in a malicious way, or probably at all, but you know... there it is.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Consider these halls decked

If I were awesome, I would have started a load of laundry today since the hamper is quite full.

I'm not awesome. What I did do is work from home, tweet pictures of my cats*, go to 3 different craft stores looking for the supplies to make Christmas ornaments and finally get up the tiny tree & porch trees in the dining room, which no longer has a table, so it's really just the music room since it is full of musical instruments. Since we don't have a big tree, my tree-topper looks pretty silly, but I've never let looking silly stop my decorating. The only thing that's missing is my pretty peacock tree skirt. For some reason, it wasn't packed with the rest of the Christmas decorations. So, this is what we've got so far:

Then, while feeding the cats, I managed to roll my foot on the vacuum cord that was left draped across the kitchen. I slid, flailed my arms like a cartoon character in that classic windmill motion that actually helps sometimes, but did both diddly and squat in this situation. I fell on my butt and... it hurt. I know that's not really a newsflash, but the tile was pretty cold and hard. I think I might have a bruise.

*I look forward to the days when I will be tweeting pictures of my baby, but for now, it's my cats. Yes I call them fur babies. No I don't think they're human. Yes they are part of the family.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The rockstar side of the family

Long ago, in a land far, far away lived my grandparents. This land was called South Dakota, and in the town of Rapid City they had a house that I visited during the summers of 1984 & 1985. For those of you keeping track at home, I was 3 & 4 during those visits. It was probably the '85 visit that I remember. Those memories are pretty limited but include the following gems*:

1) My first memories of being on an airplane were completely consumed by the Care Bears. I was a big fan of those bears, and I don't know if you remember this, but they were supposed to live on top of the clouds. So of course, once we reached our cruising altitude, I spent the entire trip looking out the window to try to get a glimpse of the Care Bears. Actually, I probably only spent 15 minutes or so doing that, which in kid years is forever. My mother would probably have a more accurate description of how I spent my time. Just like all I really remember from my first skiing trip was that I had purple Daffy Duck long johns, but my mom insists that I spent the entire time crying. I don't remember that--just the long johns.

2) My rockstar family. So, my dad's folks & sisters all lived about 90 minutes away from us when I was a kid and I saw them all pretty frequently. My mom's family was scattered all across the world: South Dakota & Virginia Beach & Germany. Because I rarely saw them, they were like celebrities. My only older cousins are my mom's middle sister's kids. They are close to my brother's age, which is 7 years older than me, so at the ripe age of 4, they were pretty much the coolest things ever. I adored my cousin Aaron and wanted to grow up to be just like Vicki, or maybe my Aunt Dorothy who was tall and willowy and had red hair, so of course, since I also had red hair, I was DESTINED to be just like that when I grew up. My Aunt Cher was an artist and a dancer, which made her 14 kinds of cool, and she had a little bit of a southern accent, and if she & my mom talked on the phone for any length of time, my mom wound up sounding like the cast of Steel Magnolias. Uncle Mike lived in Germany, which might have been next to the moon, because when he came to visit it was like the circus and Christmas and your favorite movie all came to town at the same time. Anyway, in '85 my mother says we were visiting for Aunt Dorothy's wedding, in which I was the flower girl. I was very excited. I got a fancy purple dress and I think my first pair of heels. If I recall, come the actual day of the wedding I pretty much scowled down the aisle, refusing to smile, and since my basket had flowers, not actual petals, I didn't have anything to toss. Either that or I tried to schmooze with everyone in the pews on the way down. I'm pretty sure it was the former though. I was still shy back then.

Well, not too shy, because of course, there was this picture:

The Bean: age 4, long before she'd ever heard the words "body image" or "self esteem", in the days when her cousins called her Cyndi Lauper and she thought that was the coolest thing EVER

*I call them gems because that makes them seem fancy or special or something

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fa la la la la, la la la la

Today I went caroling in Historic Downtown McKinney. The weather was actually quite nice, and we sang all of our songs--some of them twice. Some people came and watched. Some sang along. Sometimes they clapped. Really, as audio-visual wallpaper, that's the best you can hope for, and it was nice.

Now, I do this every year, but this was an odd performance for a couple of reasons.

1) My costume. I've worn the same thing for 4 years: long black skirt, white blouse with high lace collar, vest, jacket, and usually a doily on my head. It was very... 1900 school marm. Now, technically I should have been aiming more for 1865 British socialite, but you know, it's what I had in my closet and it worked. Then last year, my friend Ted made me this BEAUTIFUL rose & chocolate brown day suit, with dark brown velvet trim and the prettiest brocade and a corset that matched and he laced me in & I made a fabulous hat with lots of stuff on it, like this:

This year... well, I really wanted to wear my hat, but I don't know if you noticed a key word up there: corset. There is no corseting me at the moment. I'm full of baby. So, it was a bit of a concern as to what I was going to wear. I thought I could maybe just wear my old black & white school marm duds--the skirt still fastened and the vest sat high enough that it could be latched over my expanding middle. But then there was the hat... I didn't want to wear a doily. It was only going to be 47 in McKinney. That's not doily weather. That's hat weather. But my pink & brown costume was made to go over a corseted version of me which is about 4" smaller than the normal me, and I'm about 4" larger than that, so you see the problem.

Enter: The Bella Band. That's right! I totally used a spandex/cotton cummerbund as part of a Victorian caroling costume. And it worked! So I got to wear my fancy hat after all! The day was saved!

2) I almost forgot I was doing a list here. The other thing that was weird was the ratio of singers per part. Most of our songs are in 4 parts, SATB. We usually have a pretty even distribution on the parts, though the ladies tend to outnumber the men a bit. Well, this year, due to some life and stuff, illness and whatnot we wound up with 2 on bass, 2 on tenor, 5 altos and 1 soprano. Yeah... no balance there. So, we altos got to sing really soft and quiet and thankfully our 1 soprano was bolstered because the director sang soprano too, and they are both Ethridges. You don't know the Ethridges? Well, one time, many years ago, when Queen Anne's Lace was recording an album, and all the ladies had to share one microphone, the sound engineer was having a hard time getting a good balance. After several polite requests he came up with the following solution: If your name is Ethridge, face the wall. That way, with their voices only bouncing off the wall to get to the mic, they were in balance with the rest of the ladies who were singing INTO the mic. Yeah, they have some AMAZING lungs & voices. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Christmas Tree that wasn't

So, I was all jazzed to put up my Christmas tree today.
I got all the Christmas stuff out of the closet in the front bathroom (which of course is the most sensible & logical place to put Christmas stuff). There are boxes of ornaments and many lights and some garlands all in pretty peacock-like colors, and some other colors and some handmade ones, including last year's little sheep ornaments, which make me happy every time I see them.

So, giant pile of Christmas trimmings in the front room, and then a sleepy husband goes to fetch he tree. He comes back in with  box about the right shape, only it turns out to be the porch trees. Which would be fine if another box of the appropriate size existed anywhere in the universe (or our house). But it doesn't. There is no tree. Somehow, when we moved from there to here (a year & a half ago) we misplaced the tree. That happens, right? Things go missing when you move? Inexplicably? No rhyme or reason? Like perhaps all of your left shoes... or maybe right shoes... I don't remember which, but if you ever run into Beylit you can ask her for the real story. It's the main reason why she has to tell me anytime she wears cute shoes now--because after that move she only had one pair of purple flip-flops and some beat up old sneakers. FOR YEARS!

So, it seems that we lost our tree to the whims of moving. Who knows how it happens. In the mean time, I'm going to find a way to trim the living room in lights and hang ornaments and bells from the mantle. And then I shall steal one of the many trees generously offered to us by our friends and family. I will cover it with purple and blue and green stuff like this:

last year's tiny tree: covered in peacock-like birds! 
the wreath I assembled out of stuff I liked

Friday, November 25, 2011

And so it begins

So, I started working on my Christmas cards the other night. I make cards to send/give out. It's really quite simple, as I have a pretty reliable formula for success:
Blank card
Fun ribbon
Stickers I like


There are other ways to do this of course, and I'm sure at some point in my card making I'll get all wacky and try something like... three blocks of colored paper with stickers in a row, or maybe an asyemetrical jiggaflern of something seasonally appropriate. Also, I suspect that soon there will be a craft days where many of my other fellow scrapbooking-type card making ladies will get together and as we pool our resources, things get more exciting. More stamps, more ink, more ribbon and glitter and stickers. Some of those ladies even have fancy machines that cut out super-awesome things from special paper on demand. It could get very interesting.

Now that it is official Christmas season, I must decide what kind of ornament to make this year and get with the making. My holiday celebrations are all* happening before the 15th of December, so I don't have a lot of time to dilly-dally.** Pinterest has been very helpful in my search for this year's unique homemade ornament, but really I just like any excuse to play with more glitter, so that might have something to do with it.

Want a card? You can have one. I don't mind. Just send me your address...

*Well, family Christmas will happen on the day of, but that's different in my head somehow
**I've never actually typed that phrase before. It's a bit awkward.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanks a lot!

Well, my first turkey is just hours away from being done. Technically I suppose it was hours away from being done when I first put it in, but that was at 8 this morning. It's quarter past 1 now, so things have come along quite well. The bird is browned and covered in seasony bits and I'm basting the beast every 20 minutes. For the record, basting the beast probably IS a euphemism somewhere, but that's not what I mean.

I don't have pictures of the naked bird, or the part where the giblet bag exploded inside and we had to fish out the giblets. Yeah... you heard me. It wasn't pleasant. We cut off the tail, gave it a bath and then I made stuffing. The bird got stuffed up both ends, rubbed with butter and some spices, shoved in a pan and now rests in the oven, getting all...em-brownened.

It's... it's really brown. Is it too brown? Have I totally screwed this up? Mom won't let me screw this up. I love my mother's method of cooking. I knew I was in good hands when I had a bowl full of bread cubes and she plopped some bottles of seasoning down in front of me: rubbed sage, celery salt, lemon pepper. I asked the question I was pretty sure I already knew the answer to: How much of each do I put in here? She just sort of looked at me and said, "Some." See, that's my kind of kitchen witching.

I'm going to share with you my super-unsecret recipe for twice baked sweet potatoes:
Sweet Potatoes (1 potato per 2 people)
Brown Sugar

Notice there are no amounts on there? Because I don't know. I microwave the potatoes until they're cooked, cut them in half, scoop the innards into a bowl and then mix them with brown sugar and bourbon until they're smooth, creamy and taste right. Then I sprinkle just a little nutmeg, put the innards mix back into the halved shells, top with the marshmallows and then put them in oven, and broil on low until the 'mallows are browned. It's not science. I don't want to say it's necessarily art. It's just... witching. Turkey has a lot more variables, and I'm a bit more worried. My brother is here now, so he's added his meat-cooking-expertise to the mix. I'm trying not to let too much heat out when I baste... I wasn't before, but he told me, and now I am.

Right now there is peeling going on... eggs for deviling and potatoes for mashing. And basting! Always the basting! There is a lot of liquid in that pan... that might be... problematic later. (Spoiler: It was. The turkey tasted great, but fell the hell apart when trying to transfer from pan to platter. Many points for flavor. No points for presentation. Here's a picture of it in-pan before disaster struck!)

I'm glad I have Mom here to guide me. We were talking (my mom & I) while driving into town (they kind of live in the middle of nowhere) to fetch my grandparents, which isn't surprising, since I get my chatty nature from her... and my dad... but we were talking about the things we take for granted. I take for granted that I have the same 4 grandparents and 2 parents that I was born with. It's just... normal for me.

So I'm giving thanks for being surrounded by family that I not only love, but LIKE. And for having a 21.77lb turkey to cook with the guiding hands of my mom. And for you. For reading this and making this space so much fun.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I know, I read it on your blog

Alright, so I know that people read my blog. I have subscribers and followers and comments and a little thing on the side that tells me how many times the page is viewed (which does nothing to help me know who is reading it by feed, because those folks don't show up on statistics, and some days I look to those statistics for validation, you know?).

Ah-hem. Anyway.
Yes, I know that people are reading. Hello people! People like my mom.

That being said, there are some people that I didn't know were reading, or read before I thought they might have had a chance to (posting early on a Saturday morning... I don't expect anyone to have read that before a 2pm wedding...). So, imagine my surprise when sitting and chatting with friends after the lovely wedding we attended Saturday, and I heard a couple of times, from different people, "Oh yeah I know. I read that on your blog!"

I was... I don't know what I was. Pleasantly surprised is a start, with a side of mildly embarrassed for having been caught telling the same story twice, and also feeling both like a jerk for not knowing that they read it and also like a jerk if I had assumed that they did. Is there a word for that? Someone make a word for that as I'm SURE I'm not the only one who feels that way. I mean, I've been called out before for thinking that people who DO read my blog didn't--I inadvertently made someone feel like I thought they were a jerk for not reading... I had no idea that happened. Then I felt bad for making her feel bad and it was bad. For 30 seconds. Until we all got over it. I only mention it because it seemed thematically relevant. Right?

Is there blog etiquette for this that I'm missing? I'm new to all this, so you know, if I'm in the dark, someone please enlighten me! I'm not so self-deprecating that I think that NO ONE reads this. I get comments, which are rad, and I know that not everyone who reads will comment, because I know I certainly don't comment on everything that I read, but... pretty much unless I know your IP address by heart (spoiler: I don't), unless you commented, I'm going to guess that you didn't read it. Not out of spite or because you hate me, but because... well, I don't think I'm that important that you would INSIST upon reading everything that I write. The only person who is required to read everything is J, and he comments in "meat-space," which, I gotta say, as a term just ooks me right out. I get it, cyberspace-meatspace but... eeeewwwwww

So yes, thanks for reading and telling me about it, or reading silently. I like this thing. I never thought I'd stick with it, because I'm really bad at stuff like that, but somehow it's worked pretty well so far. And now some of my friends who live near to me and I do stuff with off-line have blogs too, and I've met people from the internet who are awesome. Really--they've given me advice and encouragement and opened my eyes to all sorts of crazy stuff: like cloth diapers, washing your face with oil, making your own laundry soap, giving up shampoo... Other non-hippy stuff too, but those are the ones that totally blew my mind. Real people, who don't seem crazy or extreme doing things that I never would have thought of because I thought I was too conformist or "normal" to do it...

That paragraph kind of got away from me. The point I think I'm trying to make is this: I'm really happy with this little space, and very grateful that I get to share it with all of you. Thanks y'all!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Holiday Hi-5

This little number might not change your life, but it certainly made my day, so here you go!

This weekend (or starting RIGHT NOW), if someone goes to give you a hi-5, do this instead:

That's right, it's a thumbs-up next to a hi-5. Do you see why? It makes a turkey! A TURKEY!! You don't see it? Here, let me (and MS Paint) help you out a bit!

This holiday tip brought to you by my friend Paula!

Speaking of turkey, I'll be cooking my first this year. Just like Elsha, I've been married for 5 years, but never cooked or hosted my own Thanksgiving or Christmas. Both of our families are so close that we've always gone visiting. Plus, most of the awesomness-in-the-kitchen genes went to my brother, so I'm more than happy to sit back & reap the rewards of other people's skill.

This year, even though we're going to my parents' house for Thanksgiving, our lovely hosts will be just getting back from a trip to Houston and leaving for a Carribean cruise right after the holiday. Combine that with a coupon for a free turkey and I offered to bring over the bird. I've never cooked one and wouldn't know what to do with one, but it seemed a shame to let that coupon go to waste. So, Mom said she'd show me the ropes. I'm a little nervous, but I know that there are enough years of experience in that kitchen that they won't let me ruin everything by screwing up the centerpiece of our holiday meal.

I mean, I cook. Usually for this holiday, I'm responsible for making the sweet potatoes (which I do as a twice-baked thingy... with bourbon & brown sugar, marshmallows on top) and usually I do the mashing of the regular potatoes. Brother is in charge of gravy, as he seems to be MAGIC in that department. One time, he made purple gravy. Well, it was red-wine gravy to go with some pheasant that he shot himself, served with wild rice. It was really good, but it was also purple, which makes it, in my book, twice as awesome.  Sometimes he'll brine the turkey, sometimes we stick it in a bag. All I know is that I had to get an enormous 21.73 lb turkey. There shall be leftovers for certain!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

A day of laundry

So, due to a combination of factors, I've been spending more time at home than usual.

One, the amount of actual work to be done at my job has decreased quite a bit. There is light at the end of the tunnel, since more work is supposed to be coming in December, but at the moment, it's been hard to fill 8 hours. Now, know that complaining about not having enough work to do is pretty much asking for people to point and laugh at you, because most people are overworked and underpaid. I said it anyway, because I would like to be working more hours, as it means a nice paycheck, and that could really come in handy right about now.

Of course, to do more work, it would be helpful to be healthy. It seems that my normally sub-standard immune system has given me the finger this season, as I keep catching... something. Different varieties of somethings, but none of them pleasant or worth the words to describe. I'm sparing you the ugly details.

So, what did I do today? Laundry.

Lots and lots of laundry.

Now, seeing as how my clothes take up roughly 80% of the available closet space in the closet I share with my husband, it would seem logical that when doing laundry, I would wash significantly more of my clothes than his. Obviously, this is not the case, or I wouldn't mention it. The case is actually more like this: I filled 1.5 loads with clothes of mine, 4.5 loads with clothes of his, and 2 loads of sheets & towels. How is that even possible? Well, it's because I'm a chronic re-wearer. It has to do with layers. I didn't used to dress in layers, but you spend enough time with my friend Kathleen, and layers just become something you do. I've been a top+ cardigan gal for sometime, but now I find myself adding scarves, and maybe an undershirt in a fun contrasting color. Then, only the stuff that was next to my skin or got food on it has to go in the wash. It helps that nearly 1/3 of my closet is dedicated to cardigans, wraps, sweaters to go on top of other things, jackets, hoodies, and shrugs. So, while J dresses in layers, all of his go in the hamper every night, thus contributing to the constant problem of "We just did 2 loads of laundry. All your clothes are clean, and I can only find 1 sock and a pair of underpants."

That was my day folks. I used up all my fun & exciting this weekend. NaBloPoMo strikes again!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pooh Cake

So, my sister-in-law has a tradition for her kids' fist birthday: Her mom makes a Winnie the Pooh shaped cake, well 2 actually. One for the baby to destroy and one for the rest of the family.  Although Samantha won't officially turn one until the 30th, we celebrated tonight, as this was the day we could wrangle the majority of the people together in one place. And now, many cute pictures of my niece...

Before... also, the first time her hair has been long enough for a tiny pony-tail-thingy

It took a while for her to realize what was going on... I think 8 cameras pointed at her may have given her pause, but...

Once she got the hang of it, she was going for gold!

Or frosting. Really, I think it was just the frosting! 

Cake for the rest of us. Isn't my mother-in-law amazing? She just... makes stuff like this! 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Little Bride and the happy Groom

Today is a wedding day.

Not *my* wedding day of course. My doppleganger is getting married. It's funny that I think about it that way, because I only met my doppleganger because she decided that she liked my friend Pat enough to date him. And my friend Pat is one of the first people I met when I moved to Texas a million (or 8) years ago.

Pat was sort of my boss, just like Dan was sort of my boss, at this haunted house in Allen, TX where I learned that I just can't be inside a haunted house without screaming--even if I'm the one supposed to be doing the scaring. So I worked in a part of, except it was outside, so it was more like a park with several haunted attractions. Anyway, I worked in a part where we loaded people up into big open trailer things on the back of pick-up trucks & drove them around the woods for a bit while they shot paintballs at monsters. It was actually pretty fun, except for the time I got shot by accident.

Anyway, Pat & Dan were good buddies and they eventually stopped thinking of me as my brother's little sister and I got to be my own person, and they introduced me to their friends, and ta-da! I made friends in Texas. Pat & Dan are my staples, my go-to guys. They can get anything done... or blown up.

Many years later, Pat met Lisha. Well, actually, I don't know when they first met, as they have a mutual friend, but many years later, Pat brought Lisha to a Christmas party that I attended and I met Lisha. Ok, another 6' redhead with a weird L name? Awesome! And she is. Just like when Dan got married all those years ago, somehow his wife became just as good and close a friend to me as he is. Same with Pat & Lisha. I met Pat, and got a Lisha. Pretty good deal if you ask me.

Pat is... he's not one to gush and squee and run around like a chicken sans head. He's a planner, even if the plan is just, "Show up, do stuff, go eat." His wedding is like that too. It's organized, but there's plenty of room for things to go sideways and everyone will still be just fine. He's got the important part nailed down--at the end of all of this, he'll be married.

So today, Lisha is a little bride. A 6' tall redhead with hair down to her hiney, in a beautiful & classy gown--who embroidered her own handfasting cloth. There will be a reading about dinosaurs, and one where multiple references to prostitution had to be edited out for the sake of one 87 yr. old grandmother. Her 19 month old godson will be led by his parents down the aisle as a ringbearer, and the flower girl is 5, blonde, and too cute for words.

That's the wedding part.

The real good stuff comes after. The marriage part. I love the way Pat & Lisha love one another--there's lots of laughter and fun and waffles. I can't wait to see where married life takes them, but hopefully no farther than Plano. I like having them nearby!

Melissa Muhlenkamp of Squawk Box Design took this fabulous picture--it suits them perfectly!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sugar and spice and everything nice...

Well, drinking ice cold orange juice on the way to my doctor's appt this morning did the trick, and we got to see most of the baby's parts, but, the part that everyone is asking about:

In case you missed it, when we first told our friends & family by e-mail, Jeremy came up with a very clever adaptation of some stuff he'd read on the internet, and so the announcement went like this:

A note from Jeremy:
As some of you may or may not know, we have been working on a project for some time, with many struggles and successes along the way. It therefore pleases me to no end to announce that Linnea is currently compiling a human from source code. While she has been the principal developer on the project for the past 13 weeks, I did contribute significant blocks of code to get the project started, and should receive a developer credit on the final product. 
I know you're all excited about Freckle 1.0 (the internal codename for the project), and I can tell you that we're planning several thrilling features, which we plan to announce throughout the development cycle. At this time, the project is not able to accommodate requests for additional features, as the rapid pace of development has the project team tied up for the foreseeable future. 
The expected launch date of Freckle 1.0 is 3 April 2012. Stay tuned for updates! 
For those of you who don't speak geek, we're having a baby! We are very excited and nervous and excited and did I mention excited? This truly is an answer to prayer and we are so grateful that God has give us this opportunity and huge responsibility. Thank you all for being a part of our lives and sharing with us the kind of love that made us want to bring a baby into this world.

So, of course today's e-mail went like this:

I'm pleased to announce an update on the development of our much-anticipated project (Freckle 1.0). We've just gotten a peek at the alpha hardware revision, and have some new details to share.
The current hardware weighs in at a sprightly 11 ounces, but as new components are added to flesh out the functionality of Freckle 1.0, we expect that to rise toward industry standards, so stay tuned for updates!
One major question that came up during development meetings was what kind of antenna support to expect, and today we got to see for ourselves. The lead developer on the project (Mr. Yah Weh) felt it was best that we focus on growing a broad, so the antenna has been installed internally. Now that we have that information, we can start work on protective cases, color choices, and other accessory planning that should keep us busy for some time to come (including discussion around the final name for the product, which we'll announce at launch time).
Development is still occurring at a rapid pace, with this hardware revision still in a protective environment, so we still haven't had the chance for any hands-on testing - we don't anticipate availability of a complete model until just a few days prior to public release - but we're still tickled pink AND purple about the future.
Again, thank you all for your interest and support as we branch out into this new realm. We are truly blessed to have you all behind us, and couldn't ask for more love, advice, kindness, or generosity than we've received from each of you.

So there you have it. All signs point to girl. Of course, these things can be wrong, but thankfully I've got both girl & boy babies being born within weeks of this one, so I know we'll be able to sort things out no matter what! 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Things that are half done

First of all, NaBloPoMo is halfway done. Little more than... it was 1/2 way on the 15th, since November has 30 days.

Coincidentally enough, so was this pregnancy. Half-way done on the 15th, not having only 30 days.

Also, I think fall is about half-way done here in my neck of the woods. We've been having lovely cool (less than 80 degrees) weather and the trees are turning colors for a while now, so I don't expect too much more loveliness before the leaves all become Things To Get Off of the Driveway and it starts in with the chilly & the rainy. That's what counts as winter around here, by the way. I love it. After 10+ years in the lands of the ice & snow from October to April, I am completely willing to trade months of 100+ temperatures for a week of sleet and then back to just chilly &windy.

Despite the lack of "real winter" here, I still enjoy getting back to my natural habitat--under the covers. I like to sleep with a comforter on the bed year round. In the summer, this means that there is a comforter on just my half of the bed, because my husband can break out into a sweat if it is 60 degrees... mostly he claims because of non-moving air. This is one of the prime conflicts in our sleeping/living habits. He wants air to be blowing on him all the time, all day, all night, regardless of temperature. I only want to feel the air touching me if I'm actively sweating, which rarely happens if it's less than 85. So, to compromise and find marital bliss, I live under the covers. On the couch, in the computer room, in bed--I am subcomforterrainian - (adj) existing deep beneath the surface of the comforter. This lovely word my husband shred with me today, and now I'm sharing it with all of you.

Also, we've noticed a distinct increase in the number of subcomforterrainian cats in our house lately. For reference, this is the semi-normal state of affairs: (number of cats may vary)

All cats on top of the covers.

Lately, I've been seeing more of this:

And some of this:

Now, to explain, Ruzulka (on the right) was curled up, on my pillow, under the covers next to me, quite content to be subcomforterrainian. Then, Valkyrie (Left & above) decided that SHE wanted to be on the bed too, and rather than take up any of the other 10.5 square feet of space left to her, she had to lay down on top of me...and then lean... on top of her sister... who was under the covers... 

I guess the 5 degree temperature drop in the house is enough to draw all the critters under the covers. Except the dog, who isn't allowed on the bed because he's too big. He can be on the couch, underneath his own covers if he wants... or putting his face in the moving air like J does. After all, the cats are clearly my animals, and the dog his... and that's just as it should be. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bellies, The Hudge & Eyeballs

So, while we were working on this whole baby project, I read a lot of blogs of pregnant people, or people who had just recently had babies. I enjoyed reading all the escapades of their pregnancies and birth stories and cute pictures of smiling bald-headed babies and lots of cries about the volume of vomit and pee they were dealing with. Odd to find comfort in those things? Probably, but it made Having A Baby into something more real, tangible, and doable. People were doing it. Not just random people, but people that I sort of talked to, because the Internet is cool like that. I mean, I also had friends near to me who were doing it, which helped. I probably could have delayed the onset of my baby fever for a good long while if it weren't for the most adorable, cherubic, sweet baby that my friends D & K decided to have. This kid... people, he's just... a heart breaker!

lookit that face! I think this photo was taken by the lovely  Paul over at Photography on the Run
I also got to meet a lot of my internet ladies and chat with them about baby stuff and being-a-mom stuff and got a lot of good perspective that sort of also means nothing in a practical sense, because really? I'm not going to really know until my baby arrives, since all babies have their own unique way of doing all the stuff that babies do, or so they tell me. I'm not really smart, I just read a lot. I should put that on a shirt.

Anyway, all that was a preface to say that recently, I've been going back through some of the archives for those blog-friends and re-reading their pregnancy stories. Now that I can sort of compare some parts, the posts are even more interesting. Mostly I've been re-reading Temerity Jane's stories. While I (would hope that most sane people would) hope to avoid replicating all of the steps of her pregnancy--12 some-odd weeks of bed rest sounds like a whole lot of no fun, thanks--she's got lots of good stuff asking about what to buy for the baby and being funny and stuff.

She talks about "things a full-term pregnant lady cannot do" and while that is still many months away for me, I still laughed re-reading it, but the part about walking around without being eyeballed made me think, and I realized something.

I feel eyeballed too. Not my strangers, but by friends and family, and not in a mean way. I realize this is probably all in my head, and there are layers and layers of crazy that go into this kind of self-centered thinking, but it's like this (in my head): I walk into a room, and everyone immediately glances down at my belly to see if I'm showing yet. I'm not, at least, not the way I had hoped. When I see me, I'm still just fat. I mean, I have photographic evidence that there's a baby in there, so I know what's going on, but to me, everything is still the same. I'm wearing the same pants, and the number on the scale is the same...

Ok, actually, my shape is changing. I don't look exactly the same as I did back in July, but... these aren't the changes I was hoping for. I'm having a hard time adjusting. I haven't gained any weight yet, which is good. For women who start at a healthy weight, 25-30 lbs is the recommended gain. I wasn't at a healthy weight, so my doctor-approved goal is to gain half that. To be half-way done and still at the same weight I started is good. For me. And my doctor is pleased and the baby is healthy and all that is good. To be clear, I'm not trying to NOT gain weight, I'm actually just trying to eat well and take care of myself and let the weight thing sort itself out, which is sort of my philosophy for life in general, actually. I'm just glad it's cooperating thus far.  But, to see the same number on the scale, and still be wearing my regular pants and clothes... I don't feel that much different. And the changes that I do see, I don't like. To me, it's just what happens when I gain weight.

To strangers, I'm still firmly in the "not pregnant, just fat" category. I haven't crossed over into questionable territory yet where I think strangers might be looking at me and wondering. No, it's just people who know me who I think (like me) really want to see progress that are seeing small changes & attributing them to the baby... which is true, but... ok, fine. It's true!

I look a little different now and it's because I'm having a baby.

I'm just not the shape I was hoping for. The Freckle isn't even a POUND yet, so really, there's lots of room to grow ahead, and I'm sure I'll get all giant & elephanty soon enough, and then I'll be a whole different kind of uncomfortable. I'm trying not to whine about it all the time. I really am. I'm failing, but I am trying. It's just really been on my mind this past week, especially with trying to plan a costume for TRF that didn't squish the baby, but would have made me look more like my old self, and then the costume debacle that left me all... hudgy in public...(though incredibly comfortable!)

A lady at my office asked me the other day, "Do you feel beautiful?" and she caught me so much by surprise that I didn't even edit my answer. "No, I just feel fat."  I'd never understood that answer from pregnant ladies before, because they all looked beautiful and round and glowing and maternal to me. I don't feel like any of those adjectives describe me. I knew my shape would change, and I knew I had no control over how that happened, but I still had... hopes. To be honest, I wanted a gloriously large rack--temporarily. I know too many women who live in the F-J range of brassieres to want to live there permanently, but I did have visions of  my top swelling so that for a day or two, I would be a more balanced hourglass shape instead of my usual pear.  That hasn't happened. And while my belly is bigger, it's not... round. The bottom belly is the same, but because there's a hitchhiker in there, it's pushing the upper belly out, so what people see and think "oh, baby belly" is just... me being FAT! I want the big, round, single belly that says "Yep, got a baby in here!" I guess I had naive hopes that the pregnant version of me would be... better than the regular version of me.

And I had this strange thought that I would struggle less with body issues while pregnant. Ha! I've got to stop comparing myself to all the other pregnant ladies I see. I'm not them. I'm still me. And I am happy with the fact that my body is making a human... a whole human... which is wonderful and weird and wonderful. I don't all of a sudden hate my body now, I'm just... surprised a lot. I'm happy, I really am. I'm just... adjusting very slowly (and poorly) to this new body.

Most of the time, I'm pretty comfortable in my skin. I know how much space I take up. I know how to dress to feel and look pretty good. My diet wouldn't win any awards, but it's got lots of good stuff in it, and not a lot of crap. I'm not as active as I should be, but I get up and move. I dance, I walk, I take the stairs, I do my Wii DDR, I play with my dog. I knew change was coming. I wanted this, and still do. I just didn't know how it was going to happen--still don't! I might never get to be the shape that I want to be (which at the moment is very, very round), and that's ok. I'm healthy. The Freckle is healthy. That's what matters. Not the state of my hudge. It just took me a lot of words to figure that out. Again.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Stuff I have vs. Stuff I need

So, I've been spending a lot of time with my stuff lately. I've been trying to determine what stuff I want to keep, and what's just sentimental clutter, or useless gadgetry that I'm never going to learn how to use.

This is mostly because I have a feeling that this baby is going to bring with it a whole boatload of stuff to let sentimentally clutter my closets, and gadgets I might never learn how to use. Out with the old, in with the new, right?

Well, we're super lucky that we have friends who have kids, and some of them have kids who have outgrown a lot of baby stuff, so we've been given a lot of stuff to get started. I mean, there's some new stuff that's already been gifted to us. I need to shop for the glider/rocker that my folks said they'd get me for my birthday that was over a month ago. We have a couple of onesies and a... chair-type saucer, rocker... thing... with danglies that vibrates & is supposed to be a place to put the kid when we don't want to hold it... I think. So, we don't need another of those.

My dad is also making a cradle. I can't even type that without getting all giddy with pride and joy and excitement. He's MAKING a CRADLE! Because he can. And he's awesome. He's also completely refinishing our dining room table, while my mom knits & quilts baby blankets for me and all my pregnant friends, and makes me maternity dresses and stuff. Yeah, see? I win at parents.

Basically, I need to make a list of all the stuff we have for this baby, and then cross-reference it against the ONE MILLION lists of things we (probably don't really) need, none of which agree about anything at all. I will be cruising the archives of every blog I've ever read of anyone who has ever had a child looking for the thing they said made everything easier. I have questionnaires for my friends with babies. I'm working on a spreadsheet to categorize all their answers.

I have sort of started regestries at the two stores that I can currently be bothered to register at, but I'm not telling anyone yet, because most of it is just... fluff. There isn't anything substantial or important on there yet. I have no idea what kind of stroller I want. Or what to do for a thermometer. Or baby nail clippers. What I do know is that everything with a giraffe or hippo on it is on those lists. Some of it will have to go if this turns out to be a boy baby, which, I have a sneaking suspicion it is, based on absolutely nothing other than... well, no, based on nothing. Though I keep dreaming that this baby is a girl, so... whatever, either way... giraffes for everybody! And Hippos!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Things I learned

The story of the weekend, in bulleted list format, because that's the amount of brain power I can muster at the moment!

What I learned this time, at the Texas Renaissance Festival (and associated roadtrip)

  1. My car seats 5. However, it only holds 3 tarts* & their associated luggage for a weekend trip.
  2. Sharing music makes the drive seem to go by faster. There was: Terence Trent D'Arby, The Bobs, Juno Reactor, Ludo, Beats Antique... I'm probably missing something, but those were the main highlights in the "oh, have you heard *this*?" game.
  3. A suitcase full of other suitcases will weigh just enough to convince you that it's actually the suitcase that you packed full of costuming that happens to be the same color, shape & only 2" larger. This will lead to shocked gasping when you open your suitcase upon arriving 200+ miles south to find that you have no costuming what so ever.
  4. Always pack your real-world clothes & toilettries in a separate bag. That way, you'll have clean clothes, socks, underwear & stuff to be clean & good smelling even though you don't have a costume.
  5. Good friends are the ones who see you in your normal clothes backstage before the Faire starts and hand you spare costuming, mug and pouches to make it through the day, even though you were perfectly content to just walk around in jeans and a t-shirt.
  6. Ginger of Faire Paire makes amazing hudge-hiding dresses. There is no hiding a hudge that has been expanded due to pregnancy. I felt visably pregnant for the first time, but I still think it's only obvious to my friends, because they know me. To the rest of the world, I'm just pudgy.
  7. For the first time, friends asked to touch my belly. I was surprised that I was ok with it. I thought I was still hung up on not being roundly pregnant, or that what's visible still isn't baby yet, but turns out, it was ok. I felt... good. It was affirming, not hurtful, so that was really neat, and quite unexpected.
  8. Also, I totally love that even my friends who are firmly anti-having-babies themselves are totally excited, supportive & loving this baby. That's pretty damn cool.
  9. I am content to just smell the booze other people are drinking. It doesn't drive me crazy that I can't have any as long as I can sniff the stuff other people are drinking near me. Thanks Kyle & Krys!
  10. When the crowd reaches a record-breaking 42,088 people, there is no leaving until well after the final cannon has sounded, even if you get to your car more than an hour before it goes off.
  11. When stuck in a parking lot for 2 hours, there will be singing. Someone will start humming a part to practice, and then it snowballs until you're having an impromptu rehearsal/performance, in the dark, for yourselves. It was... wonderful!
  12. Sometimes, it really does take a village just to get dressed and make sure your hair & make-up are where you want them to be. As a whole, QAL seems to be moving towards more vibrant and dramatic eye make-up, and this weekend, we got lots of compliments on looks we've been perfecting. Also, there is such a thing as the perfect red lipstick, and when you find it, you share it. (Sephora has one called "The Red" which worked really well for several of our ladies. I'll stick with MAC's Heartless, which is sadly a limited edition.)
  13. There is always some new thing in the Mad Girl Clothing line that we have to try on.
I have other things to say, but they have to percolate a bit first. So there you go! TRF in a nutshell.

*Did I ever explain the Tart thing? At our faire, the ladies of Queen Anne's Lace, the ladies I sing with--our characters work at The Pounding Heart, House of Tarts: Where your every appetite is satisfied, nudgenudge, winkwink. So, we refer to the ladies of the Pounding Heart as Tarts. There, explained?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The end of the road

I'm back from our weekend excursion.

Short version? It was good.

The long version will have to wait until I've had a chance to bathe, sleep in my own bed, talk to my husband & pet all my beasts.

Right now, I'm looking down at my feet and realizing that I've walked (heh) right into another pregnancy stereotype/cliche: the swollen feet. My toes look like little sausages. It's not pretty. I feel like it's too early for my feet to be swelling, but perhaps it was 2 days of walking all about in not-the-best shoes.

The story of WHY I was walking in not-the-best shoes is part of the long version, so... you know, a teaser if you will.

So here's us... or at least 3 of us, down at the Texas Renaissance Festival. I'm surrounded by Ethridges!!

So, my swollen feet and I are going to go put some clean socks on & head to bed!

Stories of our mishaps and adventures tomorrow!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Picture of words

 Yeah, that about sums it up, don't you think?
I'm totally cheating with this post, a Wordle of the blog, because I'm going to be at TRF today. It's a bit early in the month to be taking the easy way out, but Faire with my girls is much more fun than writing about it, so I'll do that when I get back!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lesson learned

This is why you don't try to grab all the shopping bags at once even though you only made a small trip to the store. Inevitably, the ONLY bag that has breakable items in it will be the one to bust wide open and crash to the floor, leaving you sans the plum preserves you were so very looking forward to turning into a PB&J sandwich.

One extra trip to the car would have saved this jar. So sad.

Will I do it again next time? Yeah, probably.

I don't know why that extra trip to the car is such a big deal, but the triumph of doing it all in one trip is pretty addictive. It leaves more time to go pin new recipes on Pinterest, or ponder why they think putting 2 pop-tarts in one package is a good idea if the serving size is only one tart. Seriously... that's just not fair.

Although, in the land of should-be-one-serving-not-two, Marie Calendar's pot pies... which make me happy down to my toes, especially the turkey kind, used to come in one size, and it seemed like that size was a hearty meal for one person. Then you looked at the nutrition information and realized that it was actually 2 servings, and in eating the whole thing had consumed your entire allotment of fat, carbs & calories for the day. Because who splits a pot pie?!? Unless it's a 9" pie pan pot pie, those things are kind of by definition single serving! Anyway, Marie finally took pity on us and made an ACTUAL single serving pie. Still not health food, but better and still just as tasty! Unless you're my husband who doesn't eat pot pie because there's too much crust... can there even be such a thing?

In other, completely unrelated news, I'm getting on the road soon to go down to The Texas Renaissance Festival. First I'm going to pick up 2 tarts... the yellow & orange ones, and we're going to go to Sephora and then have lunch, and then drive a long way. My bags are packed, I'm ready to go! (there's no taxi outside the door--unless you consider my car the taxi, because I am doing the driving this trip... anyway, it's a song people, just go with it!) Also, last night was our first rehearsal with our new stunt tart. So excited! With 2 of the Lace out of commission next season due to being all full of baby, we've recruited a friend to come help us out. It was nice to realize that I actually did learn 130 songs and while I'm still one of the new tarts, I'm not THE NEW tart anymore.

But off to shopping and eating and driving and fun! Bon Voyage!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

This is not a tutorial...

Seriously, it's not.

1) I'm barely explaining what the heck I'm doing.

2) There are a brazillion tutorials already out there by people with more skill and better lighting.

Also, the video quality isn't the best...
This is just sort of... proof that I tried this. And it mostly worked. I went out in public with this makeup on my face and my friends (who like me enough to be honest) didn't tell me to go wash it off.

I love the look of the classic smokey eye, but I've never really been able to pull it off. This is actually the third tutorial I followed tonight, and the second one I filmed, and you know what... this is as good as it gets.

Super-secret eyebrow drawing technique learned from Christi Harris. Music is "Trip Like I Do" by The Crystal Method, remixed (ever-so-inexpertly by me). You know, I got my degree in Broadcast Journalism and my favorite classes were the video editing ones. Granted, this free program I downloaded after I took the video I thought was going to have no audio because the last time I tried to record with my webcam my microphone didn't work and though I've changed NOTHING about it, it now all of a sudden works... that program isn't as fancy-schmancy as the stuff I got to use in college, but I still had a pretty good time.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I wonder why...

Alright, I figure the only way to get through 30 consecutive days of posting is to a) cut myself some slack on my ideas of how many words/thoughts/pictures it takes to make a "real" post, and 2) to talk about the things that I like.

So, brace yourself for a lot of talk of music, shoes, food, make-up, babies, hair styles, things I bought, and my cats.

Today, I'm going to ramble about fruit, because there's something that's been bugging me for a week or so:

What is so special about grapes and plums? I mean, other than the fact that I love them, and they're purple, which is not WHY I love them, but certainly doesn't hurt.  Perhaps I should ask what's so speciak about raisins & prunes. I mean, you dry apricots and what do you get? Dried apricots! Same thing with mangos, cherries, and all the other fruits that are regularly dried. Why don't they get fancy names?

So, I'm going to work on making fancy names for my dried mango & apricots. Your suggestions are, as always, welcome.

I know that fresh fruit is much better for you, and organic fruit is even better, but my budget and my fridge seem to complain when I try to buy several weeks worth of fresh fruit at a time. Mostly because it will go bad before I can get to it. I mean, I've been keeping about a pound of grapes in the house at all times, because that pretty much always sounds good as a snack. And I would keep bananas around all the time if I could keep them from getting... spotted. For me, bananas are good from about 30 minutes before they lose the last of their green bits until... maybe 4 hours after that. Once spots appear? I'm right out. Then they're too... ripe? soft? Banana-y? I don't know what it is, but I don't like them.  I also don't like anything that is banana or grape flavored, even though I love the fruits. So, you can have all of my banana bread and grape jelly. You're welcome. I mean, artificial flavoring is a totally different thing. Then my list of dislikes widens to include strawberries. Mostly. I mean, aren't the pink Starbursts strawberry flavored? Those are ok. So are red Skittles, which I think are more strawberry than cherry. But even though there are purple Skittles and purple Smarties and purple other things, artificial grape flavoring is ooky. No. Not for me, thanks.

Ok, but I do like stuff. I'm not all anti-these things. I really like mangos, which I didn't know until I was about 25. I can't recall ever having a mango before then, or anything mango flavored, and that's sad, because it turns out mangos are really awesome. A little hard to manage fresh, but totally worth it. Even more worth it if someone will peel and slice it for me. I don't know if I had a favorite fruit before (probably plums), but mangos have taken the number one spot.

So dried mangos totally deserve a fancy name. I just can't think of anything fancy enough.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pretty nails with a neat new toy

I'm not sure what prompted me to spurge on this gadget for painting my nails when I hardly ever paint my fingernails to begin with, but I did, so I'm going to tell you all about it. Nobody paid me to do it, I just really like this stuff, and I don't get any money if you decide to buy some. But if you do, send me pictures, because I think it's neat!

 So, these are the tools of this thingy. Konad nail art. There's a little metal disk with some designed etched into it, a stamp like thing & a scraper.
 So, you put some nail polish (they want you to use a special kind, but I've had good luck with all the kinds I've used so far--stuff I already owned--except the quick-dry kind) right on to the metal disk, completely covering the design you want. I picked this rose thing & used black for the squiggles around it. Red for the actual rose, even though it looks pink in the picture... it's totally red.
 Then you use the scrapper to...well, scrape the excess polish off. You're supposed to use it at a 45 degree angle, but I'm certainly not that precise. I just sort of... scrape it off to the side, and then it looks like this:

 Then you roll the stamper over the metal plate & onto your nail.
THAT'S IT! Ta-da! Little nail stamp tattoo whatsits of awesomeness! You can look on YouTube to find a bunch of video tutorials where they do stuff way cooler than what I've figured out so far, but I've been having a blast, and it really is quick. I was worried that stamping my right hand was going to be really hard, but actually, I just hold the stamp in my left hand, and instead of rolling it across my nail, I roll my nail across it and everything turns out just fine. I wear a super-nude-sheer base coat and I should put a top coat on, but have forgotten thus far. The designs seem to last about a week, which is about how long I'd last with a full coat of polish, so over-all, I think it's a win. I'm really excited because I ordered a disc that has french tip stencils on it, and if there is anything that will make this worth it, it's the ability to do a classy looking french manicure quickly and in any color I want!

I haven't tried all of the 7 designs on my little disc thingy, but I've done these so far:

So, come on over, bring your favorite polish color & I'll do your nails!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Butt covers

Today, I shall talk about butt covers--specifically things to cover a baby's butt, like these:

Have I mentioned that we're going to try cloth diapering? Well we are. And so far, everyone we've told has been really nice about the ways that they've called us crazy, so that's good. My mom even started researching how to make them! How awesome is that?  I might have to learn to sew, but that's a far away ambition at the moment. I probably never would have even thought of cloth diapers, because, in my sheltered little world, no one did that anymore. Then, there was the internet, and I read blogs and  it turns out, it's not all safety pins and vinyl pants. There are options, and after reading A LOT about how to do it, I decided to give it a try--for the money saving and the cute factor more than the environment or the comfort of my yet-to-be-born baby, if I'm being honest, which today I am.

Also, I say "try" because I don't want to assume that just because other people have done it that I will somehow be able to manage it as well. I hope I can. I hope that the extra laundry is just part and parcel of having a tiny, screaming poop machine. It honestly seems doable. Some people have rolled their eyes and given me their most sarcastic "good luck" and you know what, if they're right, they're right, but they're not always right, so I think it's worth a shot.

Anyway, buying diapers is one of those things I'm trying to do slowly, over time, because it can be expensive to get started. I mean, if we were doing disposables, we'd be grabbing a little bit every time we went to the grocery store, so I'm trying to sort of do the same with the cloth diapers. I have 10 so far. 3 hybrid styles (GroVia)--where the liner part is disposable, but the shell is reusable. 3 pocket kind (FuzziBunz) and 4 All-in-twos. They are all in colors appropriate for both boys & girls. Since this fetus didn't give us an early sneak peek, I have refrained from buying anything hot pink just yet. Purple, blue, green & yellow however are all up for grabs. So, I've been looking for sales & trying to make sure that what I'm paying for in shipping doesn't negate the sale price, and 10 diapers is almost one day of diapers. I do want to get some prefolds & covers too, and have gotten excellent recommendations (from my sister-in-law and my internet ladies). Like, Nala's Fluffy Bums. Yes, I bought a one-of-a-kind, limited edition poop holder, but it is so frickin' cute, I can't even stand it!! And there's a new batch going on sale today, and... yes, I'm hitting refresh every 5 seconds to try to get another one. Because... it's what I can do.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Happy Birthday Daddy

So, this year is one of those landmark birthdays for my dad. He turns 65 today.
It's super special for us because at 62, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. It's still terminal, but we've got a much better outlook today than we did those first few days. But I don't want to talk about cancer today. I don't like cancer.

So, I'm gonna talk about my dad. I've been a Daddy's Girl my whole* life.

3 Generations of Boswell men

I look up to my dad. I love him to bits. He's funny. He's smart. He's kind and generous. He was strict and my friends used to think my life was so hard because my parents were such sticks-in-the-mud, until they actually came to our house for dinner or to spend the night. Then they got the whole picture--the laughter and the fun and the rules and I really wouldn't have had it any other way. I look back now and realize that their rules make perfect sense. Anyway, the point is--my husband had a lot to live up to. My dad isn't just a man's man. He grills, he builds stuff, fixes stuff, is a doctor and a colonel and spent the last 10 years of his career helping people cure cancer and AIDS. Yeah, really. He also cooks, and knows what colors look best on my mom, and what jewelry she has and what pieces would go best with new outfits. He wrote poetry on our fridge when I brought home a magnetic poetry set. He's just... wonderful. I get my red hair, my stubborn streak, my temper, my desire to help, my freckles & easily bruised skin from him.  Everybody who knows me knows that I completely lucked out in the parental lottery. You don't get to choose who you're born to (Sorry Freckle), but I wouldn't choose anyone else in the whole wide world.

Happy Birthday Daddy.

*Well, there were some months as an infant... 9-18 months or so where no one but my mom could hold me, but you now, other than that...

Saturday, November 5, 2011

SQUEE (a sound of glee and excitement)

I am excited for these things to happen:

1. The Hobbit. I love the animated version. I grew up watching it with my brother, and I thought that Gollum (whose name I never knew and just called him the "my precious" thing) was the scariest fiction critter in the history of ever. I didn't read the book until I was much older (and had already seen and fallen in love with the first Lord of the Rings movie), but when I did, I bought my very own copy of the movie on DVD and I still pop it in to watch while doing laundry or whatnot around the house. My favorite thing about the cartoon is the music, and I know that will be different in Peter Jackson's live action version, but he did such an amazing job recreating that world for the other movies, I'm willing to let the music go to see this sotry come to life that way too. Also, Martin Freeman is playing Bilbo. I can't imagine anyone more perfect. At all. Ever. You know, he's the naked guy from Love, Actually. Yeah! I know! And, here's a true story about the casting: One day, my husband says to me, "Guess who they got to play Smaug! You're going to be so excited." And I did get excited, because the dragon Smaug is... epicly awesome. Anyway, my eyes got wide and I bounced in my chair and said, "Oh! Oh! Did they get Alan Rickman?!?! Beacuse, yes! That's perfect!!" Just picture it... big, smug, rich, powerful dragon lazing about on his horde of gold and treasure... what voice comes to mind? Alan Rickman! Yes! It has to be. Spoiler--it's not. Husband's exact words "No, the next best thing."  Me: "OooooooO!!!! Benedict Cumberbatch*!"  And I was right!

Also, if you want to see Martin Freeman & Benedict Cumberbatch before this movie (which doesn't come out until the end of next year), go to Netflix & look up the BBC 2010 version of Sherlock Holmes, which is set in modern London. Cumberbatch is Sherlock, Freeman is Holmes. It's brilliant. BRILLIANT!  There's supposed to be another season of that too, and I'm excited about that as well.

2. The final(?) Wheel of Time book. There are too many of these books already, because the plot just keeps getting more and more complicated with more twists and turns and not enough resolutions, and yet... I keep reading. Not just that, I like it. I like books with maps in the front, and while sometimes I find myself rolling my eyes at the choices the characters make, I'm still captivated by the story and want to find out the consequences of those choices. There's stuff that happened in the first 3 books that we're just now getting resolved at the end of book 13. It's overwhelming sometimes, and I'm not going to re-read all 13 books before the 14th comes out next year. At least, I don't plan to. I'll probably do 10-13 though, just to refresh. Plus, that's where some of my favorite stuff happens--mostly the relationships resolving, characters pairing off, stuff like that.

3. Feeling this baby start moving. Thursday night I got to feel my friend K's baby wiggling around. She's 6 months along with baby #2, and it's just such a bizarre thing. I know there probably will come a time when I'm sick of being poked in the ribs or kicked in the bladder, but right now, I'm looking forward to feelings those first flutters and what-not. It's maybe the only part of pregnancy that I've ever had any truly positive feelings about. The rest is all just means to an end. I'm trying to appreciate it as best I can, but really, I'm very much looking ahead to the child at the end of all this.

4. Finding out whether this is a boy baby or a lady baby. Alright, so pretty much since I found out I was all "in a family way" I've wanted to know if we were having a boy or girl. When I was growing up, I always thought I'd want to be surprised at the end. Then I realized that I was wrong. I want to know now. I'm still going to be surprised no matter when we find out. I just want to be surprised sooner rather than later. However, based on my last sonogram, where this child sat quite calmly and still, legs crossed, butt down, not cooperating in the least, I realized something. This is my baby we're talking about. Also, my husband's. Neither of us are particularly... cooperative people. We're stubborn, and prone to being contrary at times. I think this kid knows how much I want to start picking out hairbows or robots. I think that because of that, this kid is going to spend the next 5 months covering up the bathing suit area anytime a sonogram machine is within 5 miles. I have a strong feeling that we'll have to wait until we get Freckle out into the open air to discover that pink vs. blue secret. Then I imagine we'll have a kid who hates being clothed. Yeah, that would seem about right.

5. The chance to hang out with some of my internet ladies in February. Despite the "traveling while 7 months pregnant" part, I'm very excited to do two of my favorite things (eat and talk) with friends that I know through the wonders of technology.

6. Going to the Texas Renaissance Festival next weekend. Visiting TRF is totally different from working Scarborough Faire. It's like a field trip. It's only 1 weekend. We don't have to obey the costuming rules of our Faire (or their Faire for that matter). We can wander around and shop and eat and sing and not feel guilty about not talking to the plain clothes patrons, because it's not our job! Hooray! There are different shops and shows and friends. Plus, it's a chance to road trip with the Lace, and man, are we fun to travel with. Communal eating, grooming and shopping. I'm going to try some new things with my make-up, which reminds me that I have...

7. a 20% off my entire purchase for me AND A FRIEND coupon to Sephora!! Oh yes! And a gift card, so not only do I have free money, I have free money that will go EVEN FURTHER! Sephora is a store that I love to shop in even when I'm not buying. I love that they have everything out for you to touch and try and smell and put on. Kathleen is always looking for the perfect red lipstick. Diva wants glittery teal eyeliner that goes on in one coat and comes off without leaving crustules in her eyes. I think there's always another color of eyeshadow or eyeliner that I don't have that will make my whole life better, or the perfect mascara, or a SPF 30+ face lotion that doesn't smell like sunscreen or make me break out, or a new scent of bath gel that I just can't live without. So, right before leaving for TRF, I will take a Lace friend, we will go to Sephora and see what we just can't live without for 20% off!

*I swear to you, that's his real name. He himself said it sounds "a bit like a fart in the bath." And that's just one more reason why I like him. That, and he does an amazing Alan Rickman impression, so you know, there's that.
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