December 21, 2011

Just a December morning ...

Hustle and bustle ay? Yep. Things have been a little hectic. But we're almost through the year! 2011 is heading out already! Man alive. Time sure flies when you're living doesn't it? 

This morning I headed out on some errands with my little lemon pie. I overestimated the chill factor once again and draped her in fleece. Poor kid. She's always sweatin' when we get home. But she stayed silent as I hit the ATM - they changed it around again! I'm shoving deposit slips and envelopes in that slot that is now made solely for checks. Friggin A. I have to come off looking like a moron somehow. After managing to not break the delicate machine we took a quick trip to CVS. I am in there every damned week. I fumbled around for a bit with that weird, tiny drug store shopping cart, trying to attach Scarlett's carrier as safely as possible. (To all you holier than thou mamas, please hold your comments about how we should never place a baby in there and we should always use a stroller made specifically for our car seat carrier or wear our baby for the best bonding experience at all times. I read the same literature. I'm just a rebel I guess... and apparently not as good a mother as you). We managed to get it just right and went on our way, navigating the same aisles over and over. I smiled as passing women gave sweet looks to my baby girl. Some asked her name or how old she is ... some commented on how her eyes were wide open. All seemed to really enjoy her presence. I felt proud to be pushing her... my own child that is bringing joy and smiles to complete strangers. Normally, I am the one sneaking peeks into the passing strollers. I still don't get those few mothers who give snide looks as I smile at their babies. Perhaps if I was wearing a John Wayne Gacy costume I'd understand a bit better. Anyhow, we made it through the shopping trip without a tear. Just a fuss-spell at the counter while the clerk tried to figure out my out-of-the-ordinary coupon. (Of course). After packing up the car we started on our way home, dodging the raindrops. I began my routine of getting the baby in the house first, throwing a cookie outside to my barking dog, unpacking the car, locking everything up, unlatching my child and making her comfortable, putting my goods away and writing up my receipts. After a few phone calls, the baby's bottle and her nap and a load of laundry - here I am... with my cold turkey-loaf sandwich (on Sicilian bread with mustard - what? gross). Do I continue with my week-long cleaning spree? Do I begin baking those Betty Crocker easy-as-hell cookie mixes?? Tell ya what I'd like to do... I'd like to make myself some candy-cane cocoa and watch my DVR'd Christmas specials until miss moon wakes up. Ya know what? I just might.  

December 19, 2011

2011 Christmas poem

'Twas the week before Christmas
and I'm feeling quite moody
Gregg broke his toe
so I'm on double duty

But I'm happy to say
I'm ahead of the game
with shopping all finished
and wrapping the same

Each day I spend sprucing
a room to it's best
or the stove or the shower
vile things I detest

Baking you ask? 
Well, not too many sweets
Cookies from a pouch
and ready-made treats

The baby decides
just what tasks I'll get done
each day when she naps
I rush to start one

Hoping I finish
everything on my list
before she awakens
hungry and pissed

Our home is quite festive
decked out and lit up 
It smells like a pine tree
and a quart of spit-up

I've watched A Christmas Carol
with George C. Scott
my favorite Scrooge ever
Find better? You'll not.

And of course I've seen Rudolph
The Grinch and Charlie Brown
That Lucy's a bitch
she needs a beat down

But this Christmas is sure to 
cause our spirits to lift
For we have been blessed 
with a most precious gift

Our beautiful daughter
one miss Scarlett June
a name just as beautiful 
as our sweet little moon

I hear cute little noises
as her short nap now ends
My time here is up
Merry Christmas, my friends! 

Happy Holidays to you and yours, I wish you all the best of health and happiness in the New Year!! Merry Christmas!! xoxo


December 5, 2011

our newly altered tree-getting experience...

As most of you already know, one of my favorite days of the year is Christmas-tree getting day! And that just happened to be this past Saturday. Twas a wee bit different this year however ...

It started on a chilly Saturday morning. After a quick breakfast I hastily chose my daughter's first annual Christmas-tree-getting outfit. I had been playing paper dolls with her in my mind for days, I knew just what to pluck from the drawer...

She was very agreeable that morning but naturally required another diaper change, bottle and burp session before we finally headed out the door at 1pm.

Gregg and I insisted that she come with us to both tag the tree and chop it down. For the tagging expedition I clumsily navigated our way through the stump-filled tree farm like an adamant new mom. Hey, those strollers are built TOUGH these days, it worked out just fine. Scarlett, however, wasn't havin' it. She cried the majority of that outing unless of course we were blasting full speed ahead up the dirt road. Needless to say we the only picture we took that day was of me pushing that stroller up said dirt road. For the tree-chopping event, we bundled up that little fuss-bean in numerous layers of clothing, a  hat, socks, boots, a sweater, a blanket - you name it. She was covered. The drive to the farm is definitely long enough for her to conk out - but she didn't remain conked once we arrived. We decided to unfasten her anyway and take a couple of pictures in front of this year's tree. Terrible idea. Swaddled in her pink, fleece elephant blankie she WAILED in the open field as if we had her packed in ice. 

That was a very short-lived photo shoot. She continued to holler at me whilst Gregg dealt with an over-sharing tree-cutter clad in black & white camouflage with last night's gin on his breath. Okay, so I exaggerated a bit with the gin. His eyes did tell a similar story though. Back in the Jeep and over to the bailing station Scarlett maintained her position as Cranky Avalon and I was forced to climb into the backseat and "la-la-la-la" her to sleep, thankfully. We headed home. Gregg began the chore of setting up the tree (and shaking it down for any vile creatures) - with Brody's help...

 ...while I fed and tended to a much calmer Scarlett June.

She napped for three hours while Gregg prepped the tree and twisted the lights around it. She woke up during the beginning stages of the decorating. We were happy to have her with us, taking turns holding her while we placed our favorite ornaments on the pain-inflicting branches.

Then she pretty much cried for five hours while we worked hard to take care of her and basically throw the remaining ornaments on randomly to finish up the tree.

But when all was said and done Scarlett did sit in front of the shiny, glowing tree and eventually smiled her little face off.

We made it through!!

Here's the finished product...

Hope you all are enjoying the holidays! Merry Merry Happy Happy Fa-La-La-La-La!

November 29, 2011

a mama at last ...

I feel like I am looking at my blog for the first time all over again! I was a bit rusty when it came to revamping but I figured it out - in between my baby's naps that is! 

YES, that is right, "babybloggins" is finally here! She arrived on September 24 at 8:09 PM via C-section - after much coaxing. I ended up having to be induced due to a discrepancy with the ultrasound measurements, basically. I was in labor for roughly 48 hours with barely any progression when we all decided that a C-section would be best. I'm a tough cookie but the recovery was pretty brutal if I'm being honest ... and it was a breeze if I'm lying through my teeth. Luckily, Gregg was home with me for three weeks and during that time we were able to enjoy the start of our new family life together. What a trip it has been! We just love her so much, she's an absolute doll. 

Scarlett June ... my little moon

It has been quite a ride so far... and I'm loving every second of it. Sure, I've been peed on, pooped on, spit-up on and even had two lovely projectile bottle-puking experiences - but it's all part of the journey, and it's all wonderful. I have learned so much - by doing. I listen to advice and take most of it into consideration but I mostly prefer the trial-and-error process. It might take me a little longer to get everything down but I get there eventually and I have a great sense of accomplishment when I do. I'm pretty proud of my ability to keep Scarlett on a great schedule. I started very early on. I know, I know, "babies can't be put on a schedule, they change all the time" ... blah blah blah. Heard it all, read it all. She does have her days and nights where she is completely out-of-sorts but for the most part she follows the schedule that we set for her. We used to do bedtime at 9:30 pm, she would be up at 1:00 am and again at 4:00 am for feedings and diaper changes. But for the past two weeks it's been lights-out between 10-11 pm and she sleeps anywhere from 6-9 hours!! What a blessing! Sure, it could all change tomorrow and for the next three months but I'll take it as it comes.

My favorite thing to do with Scarlett is read to her. When she is on her changing table, fed and freshly changed, she loves to play (for about 20-30 minutes, tops - haha). We have several noise-makers that she is into, rattles and little singing plushies - but she loves story time too. I enjoy finding new books for her and watching how the ones that she LOATHES on Tuesday can become her favorite on Wednesday. She recently started making lots of noise herself. Along with the adorable smiles we get to hear her jumbled up baby language. I adore it. Last night she even started imitating sounds that I make to her... it's so stinkin' cute!  

I am really enjoying the holiday season this year. It sure is fun picking out toys and books for the little shmoop. We finally get to play Santa!! The Christmas decorations went up the day after Thanksgiving (as usual) and it is quite festive on the first floor. I had a hard time settling on a stocking for Scarlett but finally found the perfect one. I'm not into "baby's first Christmas" items (or mixing pink with red and green decor for that matter). I wanted something that she can keep throughout the years. So, in the end, a stocking adorned with the Peanuts Christmas characters Snoopy and Woodstock won it's place on the mantle. It fits right in.

Scarlett is 9 weeks old and going to her "2 month checkup" tomorrow. Here come the shots. Oh, how I dread it. Watching her scream in the hospital when they pricked her little foot was just heartbreaking. I hope she recovers quickly... I hope I do too. 

I plan to do my best to get back to blogging on a regular basis. I'd love to update you all with stories of our day-to-day shenanigans, if time allows. 

Be well.


September 20, 2011

the best time of the year ...

Pumpkin cake. Yankee Candle fall scents such as: Farmer's Market, Apple Cider (my current fave), Pumpkin Spice and Harvest in a mixed up rotation of my tart burners. The cool, dry air. Chilly mornings that call for an extra blanket. Crock Pot meals. Turkey loaf and mashed potatoes. JEANS! Much like a vampire, I've gotten a taste ... of Autumn that is... and I'm already hooked. Unfortunately it is going to get warmer and humid again midweek so the jeans will be put back on the shelf. Drat. But it's still my favorite time of year. From September through the holidays I just can't get enough! I love it all! Setting out the Halloween decorations only to put them away in what feels like days. Watching Halloween specials like It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown... and of course all the scary movies I can fit into my life. Decorating for Christmas and the whole Christmas tree tradition. Buying and wrapping gifts, and all of those sentimental Christmas specials and movies. It just makes me so happy! I even love the snow. Yup, that's right, THE SNOW!! Such a 4-letter word around here but I think it's lovely. I get so excited when it's in the forecast. And I do my fair share of shoveling too, I don't like to see Gregg break his back alone. Although this past winter I was in the beginning of my pregnancy so I couldn't help out, and I felt horrible because we got a TON of snow! Anyway, I can't wait to share all of these favorites with our baby girl ... once she makes her arrival. We've waited so long to start our own little family and I am so anxious to share our traditions with her. 

I had wanted to make this post a little bit longer but the little one is actually jammed up against my ribs and I can no longer sit in this chair. She's already calling the shots! Haha.      

September 11, 2011

A happy life ..

I just felt like writing tonight. Not confident that this will be an earth-shattering post or anything but more like a barrel of mismatched socks. I just want to write. I can't tell if it's the upcoming full moon, the fact that it's the ten year anniversary of the unspeakable terrorist attacks on America, that I'm inspired by just finishing up a good book or that football is on the TV and I felt the need to scatter. Whatever it is ... it's in the air (and I'm not talking about the lingering smell of the turkey chili I made earlier). 

Baby talk: I am now 37 weeks and 3 days along. Yep. This little star can make her appearance at any time. That's an exciting thought isn't it? And you'd THINK that I would be spending every moment of every day thinking about that but I'm not. In fact it crosses my mind just a few times a day. I think because I feel so prepared I have that peace of mind. I will say that I do worry a bit about how it will happen. Where will I be? Where will Gregg be? Will it be natural? Will I be induced? C-Section? Ack! So many random scenarios. But I don't obsess. It's going to play out the way it's intended to. I am still feeling pretty damned good at this point which is truly a blessing. Sure I have some heartburn but it doesn't stop me from eating the things that I love - i.e. spicy chili and tomato products. I can't always get into a comfortable position sleeping, my gut sometimes feels like it's busting out of my skin and the little nugget does enjoy jamming herself up into my ribs BUT overall - I feel really, very good! Can't wait to see her darling, little face and let her fill up my heart. 

Reflection: Today I realized something very important. I am no longer a slave to others' judgement. I can't remember the last time I stopped to think about what people would say if I bought a certain item. If I like the boots, I'm buying them. It's that simple. You don't like them? Don't look at my feet. For the better part of my teens and throughout my twenties I was constantly worried about what people would think. Can I publicly like a certain band? Or get a different haircut? Or buy a wooden bracelet? Paint my nails pink during the winter? Go to THIS beach? Wear this perfume? Are my sunglasses the right shape? The list went on and on. SHALLOW much?? I was always second guessing the things that I loved. And who the F cares??? I can't believe how many years I spent just sacrificing these things for the acceptance of others. And it's not as though I bought or did OTHER things to please the crowd... I just didn't follow my heart and remained stuck in the same. So over the past few years I have had the pleasure of doing and buying whatever the hell I want. Life is too damned short. There is an amazing airy feeling about my life now. The heaviness has totally been lifted. I have cut out so much drama and many things that brought me down. I don't feel burdened anymore. We can't control everything in our lives but when we see an opening we need to jump on it. De-clutter. Get rid of the things that weigh on us daily. It's unbelievable how much better life can be at any given moment if we just remember that there are changes that we can make. Mini adjustments even. And to my friends who are in their twenties or maybe just hit 30 and don't know how to feel about it, I say this: FEEL AWESOME. My thirties have been the most comfortable years of my life so far. Everything has clicked into place. I wish I could go back to my 18 year old self and whisper into my ear that I'm going to be so, so happy one day so just suck it up, get through the tough times and anxiously await the happiest days of my life. I'd have liked to hear that. But I made it here regardless. And I'm proud of that.

I guess that's all I really wanted to say tonight. I sort of feel like I'm on a cloud... maybe it's all the spices from the chili haha. Anyway, I hope you take something away from this post. If you feel the need, take a quick evaluation of your life. What holds you back? What are you burdened by? Can you see any possible way of changing the situation? If so, I encourage you to do it. It can be soooo worth a little aggravation. Good luck! Cheers to a happy life!      

August 20, 2011

34 weeks down ...

34 weeks...

I cannot believe how quickly this pregnancy is flying by! I normally think that of OTHERS' pregnancies (because I'm not the one going through them, clearly) and I have always been told that it seems to last forever ... but mine - record speed. 

So here we are at 34 weeks - and two days to be exact. Am I ready? Yeah, I think I'm ready. I have spent the past four months on countless errands picking up all of the essentials (and some of the non-essentials hehehe) dragging my mom or Gregg along. I think they both enjoy it though. It's not like buying groceries - although Gregg does that for me now too. Thanks, blabey! You're a peach. 

I believe that yesterday may have been my final trip to Babies R Us until after this little nectarine is born. I have stocked up on receiving blankets, burp cloths, crib sheets, changing pads, bibs... you name it. I have read all the books and magazines. I have received and read all of the daily and weekly emails. I have put to mind all of the tips and advice from my seasoned veteran friends... and from a few of my "newbie moms" too. Our baby girl's room is ready and waiting. The bottles have been sterilized and washed and have given a new purpose to our junk cabinet. I was able to pack my hospital bag as of Monday and it made me feel SOOOOOO relieved. I finally found cute, or at the very least decent pajamas to bring to the hospital - I feared that my old, yet faithful yoga pants and faded Old Navy t-shirts wouldn't cut the mustard (although they may accidentally end up in the bag too). I know I'm a little ahead of the game but if you've watched as many episodes of A Baby Story on TLC as I have you know that anything can happen. And if you've met me, you'll know that it will happen to me. 

How have I been feeling? GREAT! It's amazing. I have feared pregnancy for the better part of my life. Not even the labor/delivery part so much as the entire 9 (or ten) months of the unknown. I thought I would be vomiting for months on end, be swollen like a tick, gain upwards of 75 lbs, walk around with my elbows resting on my big momma hips, have gestational diabetes, be put on bed rest and deliver three weeks past my due date after 36 hours of agonizing labor with no pain medication. HOWEVER... I didn't vomit once, was merely nauseous for 14 weeks, had swollen ankles exactly ONE TIME and that was due to a salty dish at friggin Olive Garden (knew I hated that place with better reason than just the lame ass commercials), I have gained just 14 lbs so far, my hips feel like they've spread and they ache overnight but my elbows are far from touching them, I passed my glucose test - no diabetes here, not on bed rest thankfully and although my baby is breech I have faith that I will deliver at just the right time. 

What am I worried about? Well ... I am one who likes to have control of the situation. Not knowing how or when this situation is going to go down does make me super anxious. A planned C-section sounds so appealing when you consider the alternative of the whole cliche water-breaking in WalMart, car won't start, Gregg is somewhere in Taunton with no cell reception etc. BUT again, FAITH. Gotta have it. Plus a C-section guarantees a 4 - night stay in the creepy cardboard bed along with a much longer recovery. I would rather get the hell out of there pronto! But I am open to anything, whatever needs to be done, I'm on board ... we are looking for HEALTHY here ... and anything else just don't matter! 

Happy Weekend!    

August 15, 2011

The Nursery ...

Hello All, 

Many of you (and my facebook friends) have been requesting pictures of the baby's room so I figured I would put them in a blog rather than bring you over here one by one to see it for yourself. The nursery was always something I could not WAIT to get started on... long before I even thought about having a baby. I always wanted to offer to help my pregnant friends pick out colors and furniture and decor for their little one's nest but I figured they would be much too excited to let me do so and in a selfish way I kind of wanted to keep my style to myself! Anyhow, the day came when it was my turn... and man was I up for the challenge. 

I began by checking out websites and Google-ing images of nurseries. I loved so many things that I came across but none of them really reflected my own personal style. I had TONS of ideas about what colors I wanted, the furniture that I liked, the curtains etc. And I knew for certain that I didn't want any kind of theme. Sure it would have been easier to register for every necessity at Babies R Us like most normal people but I like hand-picking items from all over. I decided to ultimately go for it on my own - with Gregg's blessing of course. He said "it's all you" ... but you'll notice he definitely put his special touch on things! Whether you like it or not I had a ball from start to finish. There may be one or two more things that we'll add but for the most part the room is ready and waiting for its guest of honor ...

When we found out we were having a girl I knew I wanted wooden bureaus painted white with knobs painted pink. This bureau was actually Gregg's from when he was a wee tot. He sanded it, painted it, fixed up the drawers and here it sits for it's second life.

I always loved the idea of white sheers blowing in the breeze and I thought it would be a nice, feminine touch added to the little pink valance. 

The window mirror above the bureau was a consignment shop find. It was painted a dark raspberry pink and the hearts were butter colored and placed on the corners. Gregg sanded and painted once again and we chose prettier colors and placement for the hearts.

 The crib. Pretty self explanatory.

Baby's-eye-view of the mobile.

Her little coat rack, you know so she can hang up her adorable raincoats, bathrobe, hoodies, pocketbooks and such :o)

My mom found this lamp and told me about it days later. 
We rushed over, I fell in love with it and she picked up the tab.

This bookcase was another mom-find. She saw it in a flyer and Gregg and I picked it up shortly after. I LOVE it. How cute are the little cut-outs? 
I only wish we would have bought one of the other matching pieces.

This shelf hung in our old apartment and we haven't used it in years.
New purpose! The little animals were carved by Gregg, we painted them and decorated them with little accents. The lion is Gregg's favorite (he had the idea to make the fuzzy mane too!), I like the elephant best. The caterpillar up top was made by my very talented Mother-in-law. He's not so creepy since he's pink & yellow!

My least favorite piece in the room ... the glider. Sure, it's comfy but that sage color is not for me. I was going for pastel. Not spice jar. 
But whatever, can't have everything perfect... can you?

This little dollhouse bookcase was yet another flyer-find by my mom! It really is adorable although once we put toys & books in it I feel like it looks SO cluttered! It bothers me haha

 I came across this flag banner on Etsy and knew it needed to be in the baby's room. When it arrived I immediately noticed that the green flag matched the heinous glider color exactly! Hey at least it ties it together! Isn't it so cute though?? There are buttons in the center of the hearts and they are GINGHAM buttons. I can't even ... too sweet.

Here lies the million dollar bureau/changing table. You laugh... but I cannot believe how expensive this thing was. I thought Hey, let's just get one from the Mill Store and have it painted. Really thought it would be the cheaper way to go. Wrong-o. Anyway we, again, painted the knobs pink and added the little basket o' goods for easy access.

 And a drawer full of diapers ... this oughtta be enough for the first day or two, no? 

The sweetest, pink bouncy seat.

The adorable swing.

 And the crib quilt that I couldn't live without.

 That's basically it! There are just a few more little things to do but I thought I'd get this blog done so you all could see the pictures. I think it's a very sweet little room and I have to thank Gregg for putting everything together as we bought it or received it as a gift. And for all of his hard work sanding and painting like a madman. It all came out so great, I couldn't have asked for more. Now I want to see the room in action! Rocking this baby girl to sleep, changing her messy diapers and picking out her adorable outfits everyday. I have about 6 or 7 weeks left ... it's gone by so quickly and I have loved being pregnant! 
We can't wait to meet our little darlin and see her sweet face.

July 16, 2011

if i pass out in walmart so help me God ...

Week 29:

Well I guess I needed something to blog about so here is the lovely tale of my episode in Walmart this past week ... enjoy... 

I had a few things on my list to buy so I decided I would hit up Walmart the other day. After I had some breakfast (a honkin' bowl of cereal) I primped and headed out. I know the store like the back of my hand so I got what was needed, spent a little extra time picking out greeting cards and was ready to end my trip. While I was walking up to the registers I started to feel this very familiar heaviness in my belly and I noticed I was getting out of breath. This happened to me not too long ago - in the same store and several times before that in other stores, but not nearly this bad. I continued to the cashier and started to put my items on the belt. One by one the items felt heavier and harder to lift. I was now sweating and getting lightheaded. I remember thinking WHY did I have to buy detergent today?? It just seemed impossible to lift. I started to lose my hearing and heard a faint ringing while I tried to rest against my shopping cart. I knew if I didn't sit down immediately I would be on the floor. I have never passed out in my life but I just KNEW it was coming. I told the cashier that I had to leave my things and sit down. She was displeased to say the least. Another cashier came over to help walk me to a nearby bench at the front of the store. She asked what was wrong and if I wanted her to call an ambulance. I thought to myself if I pass out in Walmart so help me God. She called her manager over, who was very nice and understanding. She asked what I was feeling, did I need an ambulance, had I eaten anything, was I feeling hot, if I wanted a bottle of water etc. I explained that while I was sweating bullets I felt completely cool throughout my shopping experience. She brought me a bottle of water and told me to just sit and relax and let her know if I needed anything at all. Once I was seated it only took about 2-3 minutes for me to feel much, much better. I gathered my things and made my way back to the angry, inconvenienced cashier who had since turned her light off. She didn't say one word to me as she finished cashing me out. I walked out of the store, got into my car and went straight home. 

I decided to call my doctor because I had forgotten to tell her of my previous episodes at my last appointment. Now that it had happened in a much scarier manner I felt it was something I needed to disclose immediately. I explained everything to the nurse and she called me back with my doctor's input. They feel that I probably just didn't eat enough that morning. I told her that I have spent many a morning shopping around with nothing more than a giant bowl of cereal in my belly and been completely fine. She said to just keep an eye on it and keep my appointment for next week. (I have an ultrasound next week due to the fact that I am measuring a bit big as of my last appointment and I also have a regular checkup). I am not at all convinced that these episodes are due to my breakfast choices. In fact, I am positive that it has happened on a belly full of eggs, toast and chocolate milk as well. I'm wondering if maybe this baby girl is positioned all wacky and causing me to measure big and nearly pass out. Maybe she is laying on the big, super important artery?? Who knows. I guess we'll wait and see what the ultrasound has to offer. 

side note: I am excited that I get to see how much the baby has grown since week 19! Wish me luck! :o)

July 5, 2011

28 weeks ...

Wow. Who'd-a-thunk it? I am nearing the end of my 28th week of this wonderful pregnancy. So far all is well! We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of this baby girl and prepping all things beautiful to welcome her with. 
Her room is "summer morning" yellow with clean, white trim. She has a brand new floor to set her toes on when she's ready. We are buying (and Gregg has made) unique pieces to hang on the walls of her room until she demands that they be taken down and replaced by some new fangled Disney motif. We placed the glider in its perfect position where it will rest until it is called upon for active duty. The adorable bookcase is begging me to find whimsical toys, stuffed animals and stacks of books to fill the empty spaces. (And don't you worry, I'm working on it...). The crib has been ordered. Gregg is working on refinishing an old chest of drawers. There is a place for everything and so many lovely things to put in their place. This is truly "the fun part".  Well until I get to the curtains I suppose.

As for the not-so-fun part? Well, there isn't much to complain about really. Of course there is the trouble getting a great night's sleep. It is a little uncomfortable switching sides every hour since I have always been a stomach sleeper. But I have these wonderful aching hips that alert me as to when it's time to "flip". I haven't had really horrible heartburn or indigestion (I hate to add the word yet here)- just brief bouts of them here and there. One thing that has become a little daunting is the "tightening" in my belly which I imagine are the Braxton Hicks contractions but am not 100% sure of that. I first noticed it while walking around CVS one morning. I felt like all of a sudden I had a charlie horse the size of a bowling ball in my belly. I was getting a little out of breath and just wanted to sit down. I cut that trip short and felt better in just minutes. The same thing continued to happen during various shopping trips. Once in a furniture store and the most recent in Walmart. Ugh. That one was rough. I became very short of breath, I was sweating and felt unsteady. I was actually forced into sitting down at the pharmacy until the feeling passed in just a minute or two. I had never felt like that before - it wasn't painful at all - just overwhelming. But those are the only real complaints that I can think of! I am certain it could be a whole lot worse... and hoping it doesn't get that way! 

The days are just flying by - I can't believe we are into July already! I have heard that the last month seems like an eternity though, so I guess I'll make up for it then. Why do people constantly tell a pregnant woman things like that? For instance, they ask how I have been feeling and I say "great, other than the lack of sleep" and they almost ALWAYS reply with "OH JUST WAIT!! You aint seen nothin yet!!" Hmm. How is that helpful?? Don't you think I know about the no-sleep clause? Or I will mention my plans/hopes to still keep the house clean and prep food with the use of a baby carrier and they'll say, "Yeah that's not gonna happen, you'll see." Again - NOT helping. Hahaha if you want to give me tips and advice please feel free to do so, however, no need to play your little negative "been there done that" trump card. If I seem like I am being naive by assuming I can still keep a clean house - let me be! It's the new mom free pass. And I'm quite certain all moms have been there. :) 

May 30, 2011

22 weeks down ...

Well, let's see. I have been pregnant for 22 weeks. Huh. Seems longer. And shorter. I remember the days where I wouldn't 'realize' that I was pregnant until it came time to take all of my vitamins. Now I have constant daily reminders. Here's whats been going on ...

I feel the wonderful flutters of this baby girl (the female Ivan Drago), mostly using my bladder as a speed-bag but sometimes just tapping me to say "hi, can you please not sit like that anymore".

I will sometimes suddenly require a nap. At that very moment. I have learned to just march into the bedroom and let it be. 

4" heels are no longer as comfortable as I used to pretend they were.

Dressing my "bump" is not adorable like you might see in the magazines. You know, the tall, thin, toned woman with a beautiful tan and little peanut sticking out of her abdomen that's draped in a gorgeous outfit with accessories to die for. Yeah that's not me. Although the doc says I've only gained 7 lbs as of my last appointment I can assure you that those 7 lbs have chosen their destination with a vengeance.  

Getting a good night's sleep consists of two to three hour intervals of being awake. But I get to decide what I obsess about whilst tossing and turning during that time, so TAKE THAT! 

Flip flops from Old Navy no longer provide the "support" that they didn't exactly provide before but I just never noticed. Oh, I still wear them, but after two hours of standing it gets ugly.

Ice cream has never been more awesome. I try to remain strong, never finishing a pint in a sitting or anything - but I do polish off about one pint per week. (See comment about hips).

I have two choices for getting up from a seated position. One: get up like a normal person all hectic and carefree. That results in a burning pain under the belly that is quite undesirable. Choice two: the grandma get up. 

I think I have basically covered the good stuff. I am enjoying being pregnant so far. The heat has crept over to our neck of the woods but we have central air and I plan to hibernate in the bedroom watching movies when it's unbearable. I am having fun picking out different things for the baby's room too. I found a patchwork quilt online and an adorable pillow at HomeGoods and a few other things here and there. I have so many ideas for the walls and decorations, it's going to be just perfect. It will all match in a non-matching way. We picked the paint color last night - Lemon Twist - mmm now I want a lemon square. And that's about it! 

Hope you are all enjoying this beautiful Memorial Day Weekend. 
Love to you!


May 9, 2011

yep, I'm pregnant

I did it! I waited 19 whole weeks before spilling the beans! (Hence the lack of blogs.)

Gregg and I are utterly thrilled to announce that we are expecting a baby girl this fall. It's like a dream come true. I think we are both still in shock to be honest. Because of our previous loss (in October 2010) we were very, very nervous throughout the first trimester. Even after my doctor reassured us that the chances of experiencing a loss after hearing the heartbeat at 10 weeks are so, so slim - we still kept our guard up. I only began feeling a little more upbeat after seeing our baby on screen last week and learning that we are having a GIRL. It makes it so real when you are able to use a name -or even a pronoun "she" or "her" - instead of "the baby" or - "IT" (which is just awful). 

So, for all of you who have been taken completely by surprise, here is a recap of the first 19 weeks...

My initial symptoms started early, right around week five. It started with food aversions. I had made a huge batch of broccoli soup- which we LOVED- and a couple of days later I found myself chucking it into the trash can as fast as I could. I just knew if I left it in the fridge a second longer I would die. I couldn't look at it, smell it or even think about it. And to be honest I still can't eat broccoli. Then it was chicken. Brown rice. Coffee. Turkey chili. Spinach. Peppers. My everyday breakfast of egg-whites and English muffins. It seemed as though EVERYTHING that I LOVED to eat on a daily basis was now completely off limits. Awesome. I found myself unable to drink water. Normally I would guzzle down nearly 80 oz per day and now I was struggling to get just 20 oz down. It was so bizarre! 

The nausea followed at week six. I had no appetite whatsoever. You could offer me any food in the world and I couldn't even choose ONE thing that I'd like to eat. I started straying from my typical shopping list and buying things that I hadn't eaten in ten years. Like Chef Boyardee. YUP. I ate canned spaghetti and meatballs. Could you die?? Salt filled canned pasta with skunk meat. I had Ramen noodles - still a favorite but I never buy them due to the sodium. I was drinking gallons of Country Time lemonade. It was all I wanted to drink! I wanted lots of sweets too. My shopping list looked like something a 17 yr old pothead would pen. I begged Gregg to go shopping for me because I was too embarrassed to buy half the stuff on the list. I figured if he got it for me the cashier wouldn't think anything of it because he's tall and lean. If I pull the cart up with that crap in it you know they're judging me. My crazy appetite had quite an effect on our everyday meals. I could never plan to make dinner because by the time I'd make it I couldn't even look at it. Or I would start to eat it and have to throw it away. When I started having to throw food away I decided I wouldn't cook anymore, we would just get take-out or find something easy like PB&J or cereal. I did feel bad for Gregg during this time. It was a bit of a challenge for both of us.

As far as cravings go I didn't have any real crazy episodes. At different times I have wanted: lemonade, Caesar salad, spaghetti, green grapes, pepper-jack cheese, bubble gum, Italian ice, cookies & cream ice cream, an Italian grinder... can't remember any more.  

The fatigue wasn't quite so bad for me as most of my friends had it. I did find it VERY easy to fall asleep at night for once. And I would need a little catnap during the afternoon. A 15 minute snooze was all it took to get me back in action. Being unemployed sucks financially but is fantastic for napping whenever you see fit.

My headaches started around week eight. At first I noticed very sharp headaches that lasted about six hours a couple times per week. Then it progressed to three or four headaches that lasted over 11 hours and were so blinding I had to shut the curtains and at times wear sunglasses in the house. My doctor told me to take Tylenol and have caffeine. I did take Tylenol but I never did try the caffeine. Lucky for me the headaches seemed to stop as of week 18.

The past few weeks have seemed like a dream! The nausea and lack of appetite seemed to come to a halt around 14 weeks. At that time I also found that I didn't need that little nap anymore. (Well, sometimes I still do). I think the only thing going on at this point is that my feet hurt! I guess they widened and I may have fallen arches or something but anyway it is hardly anything to complain about! I am feeling good everyday, my appetite is back - I am even eating STEAK now!! (I have not eaten steak since I was a wee tot, I LOATHED it). We are able to prepare healthy meals once again and I am enjoying the fresh fruits and veggies already!

I'll just leave you with the story of the most exciting day of our life (to date) ... 
Last Thursday, Cinco de Mayo actually, we had my anatomy ultrasound. The purpose is really to measure all of the organs and make sure that everything is developing properly... but everyone knows it's when you find out the sex of the baby. We couldn't WAIT for this day. As soon as we saw the little peanut on screen it was just miraculous. She was moving all over the place (and I still haven't felt any of that!) it was amazing. When we first saw her she had one hand up by her forehead and one knee bent - she looked like me when I'm basking in the sun hahaha. The ultrasound tech said, "Look how dramatic she is already!" It was so friggin cute! So after all of the measurements were taken it was time for the big reveal!! But her legs were too close together! So the US tech was moving my stomach all over the place and we'd watch the baby move too. So cute. Finally I heard, "Well it looks like you have a little girl here" and I could NOT believe it. I had wanted a girl so badly I was just waiting for the word "boy" to come out of her mouth. I said, "GET OUT! I'll DIE!" And she again said that it was a girl. I asked how sure she was and she gave us 85%. (My doctor said she never goes over 90% so it's a pretty good number haha). Gregg and I left that appointment just grinning from ear to ear. We immediately went to buy sundresses.

 That's our baby girl :o)
(we are keeping her name a secret)

We spent the next day registering for our shower. SO OVERWHELMING. We spent four hours in there and I had to do the rest online because I thought my legs were going to give out. We bought a few more outfits too. Hee hee. And today I went on a little spree at Carter's with my mom. My sister-in-law gave us a big bag of adorable clothes that she bought on Friday. My mom gave us another big bag of clothes that she bought also on Friday. These gals were waiting SO long to go shopping! Everyone is just thrilled for us and thrilled that we're having a girl because there are so many boys in the family already. This is my mom's first grandchild so she is just over the moon with excitement. It's been really fun and I just have to let you all know how grateful and thankful I truly am for this experience. I will keep you updated on everything from here on out I promise! Sorry for keeping you in the dark for so long but wasn't it a FANTASTIC secret???


April 15, 2011

the tuna sandwich episode...

This is the essay that I submitted to Real Simple magazine's essay contest. It wasn't chosen as a finalist, naturally, but I enjoyed writing it for sure. It's a true story that I have been telling since I was a kid. Hope you like it ... 

I Never Thought I’d Eat a Tuna Fish Sandwich …

Wally Pendleton. That is the name that comes to mind when I am faced with the word tuna. I was five years old but I remember this occurrence as if it happened ten minutes ago. For twenty-eight years I have blamed my aversion to this brown-bag classic on my play-date with little, corduroy-clad Wally and his evil, tuna-peddling mother.

Wally and I went to kindergarten together. Our moms had met in typical fashion at school functions and what not. We were not exactly best of friends but more like paste-eating, flash card buddies. I was a little too bossy and a little too bold. Wally was subdued and sort of a wallflower. When my mother was unable to pick me up from school one cloudy afternoon she enlisted the help of Wally’s mother. It was a rather awkward and uncomfortable ride to the Pendleton home. I felt like a doll tagging along on an errand in the cart of a stranger.

Upon reaching the house, which was larger than my own, we were led up the driveway in a hurry to avoid the raindrops. I remember feeling uneasy and I wanted my mom to swoop me up immediately. Since it was raining outside we were limited to indoor play. For a little while I was able to forget my unfamiliar surroundings and enjoy a few games of hide and seek. After Wally chased me around the pool table for a few laps his mother called us into the kitchen for lunch.

We sat down at the breakfast nook and awaited our serving. Mrs. Pendleton placed a small plate in front of me. It smelled horrible. This was no PB & J. No sir. This was something straight from the sewer, I was certain. “I don’t want this,” I informed her, “I like peanut butter and jelly.” Well, it quickly became apparent that Mrs. Pendleton had no intention of creating my requested lunch. “This is what we are having for lunch today, eat it, you’ll like it,” she assured me. I could feel my face getting hot. My mom would never have forced me to eat something so vile. She would have given me my peanut butter and jelly sandwich and she would have smiled while doing so. Mrs. Pendleton was clearly a monster. My tears were like skydivers in a doorway awaiting their jump. I lifted the stinky sandwich cut sloppily into a triangle. The fumes made me gag. I could see that Wally’s mother was displeased by the production I seemed to be making. I peeled off a tiny corner and winced while bringing it closer to my mouth. In it went. The back of my tongue tried to block it from my throat much like a goalie. I could feel my mouth watering with disgust and my throat closing in defiance. I managed to literally choke the miniscule bite down before stating that I refused to eat another stitch. Mrs. Pendleton removed my plate with a grimace. I began to cry. I wanted my mom to come through that door and save me from this horrid lady and her poisonous lunch. There was no calming me down, I sat outside on the cement stairs until my savior arrived. That day marked the end of my friendship with Wally.

That day also marked the beginning of something. The beginning of a life to be lived without tuna fish! I vowed to never touch another stinky sandwich in my lifetime. And I hadn’t … until age seventeen.

My mother is a pretty good cook and I always enjoyed the dinners she prepared. Well, except for steak. I couldn’t chew and swallow that to save my life. Overall, her meals were delicious and well-balanced. On occasion she would make tuna salad and when that smell wafted through the house I had flashbacks of The Pendleton Catastrophe. After years of declining a taste of this foul-stench salad my mother said something to me that gave me a new perspective. I believe the sentence was, “Taste buds change, you know.” Hmm. Is this true? Do taste buds change? Well I, being somewhat lazy in the research department, decided to take her word for it. I opted for a ridiculously small taste test. The end of my fork barely grazed the well-blended enemy. Within seconds my throat started to close and my mouth began to water in that suddenly all too familiar way. After the morsel of horror vanished I maintained my anti-tuna campaign.

Over the years I have caved several times at the request of friends and family. “Try it the way I make it,” they say. “This restaurant makes it the best!” I don’t know why I kept giving in. A glutton for torture I guess. Maybe it was the words of my mother that I had questioned years earlier still ringing in my head. It’s not as though I was happy hating tuna. In fact I wanted to love it! It’s healthy and a great option for lunch. I am a big seafood fan so it only made sense that I should be able to stomach a freaking tuna fish sandwich. I just didn’t understand.

One week ago today, my husband decided to make a big ole nasty batch of tuna salad. I could smell the unmistakable aroma from the living room and thought for sure I would have to run for a pail. I began lighting scented candles and waving my arms to exaggerate my discontent. Several minutes later he emerged in the living room with his little, brown sandwich. Upon taking his first bite he became overjoyed. His eyes widened. “Oh my God you have to try this,” he said, still chewing up his mouthful. I turned up my nose and shook my head like a child. He handed the half to me and again suggested its greatness. I decided to take him up on the offer. What’s one more bad experience, I figured. To my astonishment it was delicious. Delicious. “I can’t believe it!” I kept saying. “I like tuna!” “I can eat tuna sandwiches!” If our windows were open our neighbors would surely have pegged me for a mental patient. I couldn’t help it, I was stoked. This opened up a whole new world for me! It was like seeing a piano for the first time in your life and realizing you are able to play like Beethoven. Well, maybe not that exciting.

I can’t quite explain why that one sandwich was so special. I suppose it could have been the toasted Pumpernickel bread. Perhaps the melted American cheese won me over. Or maybe it just happened to be the perfect amount of diced celery. Whatever it was, it reeled me in like a wounded sunfish. I even made my own tuna melt the next day and ate the entire thing. I was so proud that I actually texted a few friends to spread the news. Mom was right, taste buds do change. I am glad I never gave up. I have proved to myself that it really doesn’t hurt to keep trying. It can be a little unpleasant at times but you never know what door you may unlock. Rock on, tuna, I’m sorry I doubted you.

April 5, 2011

The Not-So-Sweet Shop...

You may remember back in November/December when I had mentioned that I would be doing some freelance graphic design work for a local Sweets Shop.  Yeah, here's how that situation panned out...

Initially I was pretty excited about the opportunity because I love the work and that industry is right up my alley -- designing little pink cupcakes and treats -- and working from home! I had several meetings with the shop owner, beginning the week of Thanksgiving. She was very enthused about me living so close by and she really liked my style and portfolio. She gave me some ideas of what she was looking for and asked me to create an Ice Cream menu. I was eager to get started and after six hours I was very happy with my outcome. In early December I forwarded the file to her and awaited her response. Once approved, all I needed was the accurate information to complete the project. Her response came within a week and she "Love Love Love"d it, was "in love with it". I was SO relieved! It is very hard to transform someone's thoughts and ideas into a design and nail it on the first try. Whew! This was going to work out great. I replied reminding her that I just needed a list of the ice cream flavors to complete the job. 

I went into the shop the following week to get things hammered out. She said she would definitely use me and was just going to hire a web designer for her new site. I would be doing all of her menus, flyers, signs for the shop, labels and tags for her products, cupcake wrappers, specialty items for birthday parties and events, designing a logo for a new line that she would be starting and I would even get to handle her upcoming blog. Sounded great! She said she would keep me "VERY BUSY". I was psyched. I asked about how many hours per week she thought this would entail... 5? 10? 20? And she said "Oh at least 20!" It was exactly what I needed! She thought it best that we officially start on these projects after the New Year because she had been so busy with the holidays. Perfect! Something to start the year off on the right foot! I was very relaxed throughout the holiday season just knowing that I had this awesome endeavor to look forward to.

Enter January. I hadn't heard from her so I went into the shop during the second week of the month. She was all smiles as usual. She asked me to work on a cupcake menu, mentioned the other projects but gave me no further information. She didn't have time to sit down and discuss things but said she definitely wanted a flyer for Valentine's Day along with a couple other items. She said she'd be in touch. So I went home, a little disappointed in our discussion, thinking I would have a long list of projects to get started on. I settled down to work on the cupcake menu. Once finished, I sent it over to her for approval. A few weeks later she contacted me to create a flyer for a local school fundraiser. I finished it in a couple of hours and after her immediate approval I was paid on the finished product. This would be the only project I ever completed and was paid for. 

Valentine's Day came and went and I was never contacted to make that flyer for her. Every week I would send her email reminders - attaching the ice cream and cupcake menus and politely asking her for the flavors/information I needed to finish them. I never received replies.

I went into the shop several times asking her if she was happy with everything and she said yes, totally, but she had just been too busy to get to me. She told me that I needed to "haunt her" because she was "spacey" (or "a flake", I can't remember how she put it). I felt that by sending her weekly emails - sometimes two or three per week, that I was doing my part in reminding her of my existence. 

I would read her daily facebook page posts and wonder why she couldn't take the time to just reply to my emails while she was taking those few minutes to update her page. It just takes a minute to respond. It's quite a simple courtesy. One day when reading her page I saw that she mentioned her new blog was in the works and to keep an eye out for the posts. Hmmm, guess she got someone else to take care of that. 

Another day on facebook when I came across a post from her shop I saw a brand spankin' new logo for her new line of goodies. Yup. The very same logo she wanted me to design but didn't give me the information for and said we were holding off on that for the time being. What the hell was happening here??? 

I was livid. Apparently she had chosen another designer and decided not to let me know. Was I to believe that she had completely forgotten about me?? Did I not "haunt her" enough?? No. I refuse to believe that. My job is to take the information (the COMPLETE information) that I am given and to design a layout for approval. My job is not to send three emails per week begging for approval and information. 

I decided to send her one last email letting her know that the way she handled the situation is completely unacceptable. I cannot believe that someone so irresponsible and unreliable can have such a successful business. 
After four months of requests I never received the list of ice cream flavors. After three months I still hadn't received the list of cupcake flavors. I was never paid for my time spent on concept and design for those two projects -- which really pisses me off. Being burned like that just sours me right up. 

At first I thought it was my loss because I was really very excited to do this work for the shop, I was so passionate about it. But now realizing that I would need to wait on her for weeks and even months, I know it would never have worked out for me. I can't sit around and wait and constantly beg for five minutes of attention. I don't have it in me. I learned that this was far from the ideal situation for me. On to the next ... 

March 27, 2011

memory lane ...

My parents, in preparation for their upcoming renovations, recruited my brother and my husband to clean out their garage. Yesterday was the day to do so. Since I am not mentally able to stick my hand into any cobwebby corner or rifle through a bag of old stuffed animals that may or may not contain mice and/or bug carcasses - I decided to play it safe and watch Misery in the living room with my Grandmother. From time to time I peeked in to see how the ole "toss or keep" was coming along. I was looking forward to the moment when my brother said "Here's the fun stuff!" (meaning our old toys). 

I had a few bags of dolls and stuffed animals that had been tossed up into the attic and left there for 20 years!!! Seems like forever ago. I couldn't wait to see them again. Sure enough, the time came. Here are the few that I decided to keep ... and yep, they've already been through the washer and dryer twice haha. 

This is "Lolly Dolly" ... and no, I didn't name her that! She was in the crib with me from day one. She's in great condition and if I ever have a baby girl she will be passed along.

My old Pound Puppy, Brandon. Yep, I named him after Punky Brewster's beloved pet. This guy looks brand new aside from one weird patch on his back, I may have glued or burned him, can't tell haha. 

Can't tell you where I got this thing but this is Granny Cat. The glasses are ridiculously awesome. Who doesn't love a strange hand puppet?? 

Such a favorite when I was little, Holly Hobbie. She may have first appeared in the crib as well. I am in love with patchwork and her little dress is just too cute. Not sure where her other braid went ... a mystery. I love her though.

Little Christmas Baby Smurf

Okay, quick story... we are standing around (Me, Gregg, my brother and my Mom) just in awe of all the toys and dolls we're finding - and we're remembering their names and having our flashbacks and Gregg finds THIS GUY, holds him up and says, "Gallagher!!" and we all died laughing. He said, "all he needs is a mallet and a watermelon!" ... ugh we were rollin. So funny... so I had to keep him.

Along with these little gems we also found some of my old and beloved books...

The Nose Book has seen better days for sure

This was one of my favorites EVER... loved it!

Anyone else remember Sticker Books?? I was obsessed as a kid. Looking through this book cracked me up. If you click on the picture and look at the right page there is a pig dressed up in Star Wars gear named "Ham Solo" ... classic. I miss stickers.

It was so fun looking back on all of these things. My mom came across a box full of our baby blankets and clothing and shoes. Receiving blankets, Christening outfits - the cutest little things. I am a firm believer in tossing junk before it piles up and becomes a chore - but some things should never be thrown away - like the sweetest memories of yesterday. Such a great way to feel like a kid again.