Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stream of Consciousness?

I'm feeling crippled. I keep thinking of blog topics, but everytime I try to start one, I start thinking about who might read it and it seems that for every topic, there's someone out there who I don't want to share with (a different someone for every topic). Is that silly? Probably. You can't imagine how difficult THIS post is, and I'm not even talking about anything! Sometimes I worry too much about what other people think of me, but other times I don't want someone to think they recognize themselves in my post and take offense. The problem is that I linked the blog to my Facebook and suddenly every one of my Facebook friends now knows when I blog. At the time I thought it was a great idea, and sharing my blog with everyone does appeal to me. I don't mind if everyone reads it. But Facebook makes an announcement, if you will, for every new post. Even if someone completely forgot that I have a blog, they're reminded as soon as I post something. Yes, I'm being absurd. And if I did to this post what I do to all my posts recently, I would delete it right now and go do something else. But now that I've written this much and started analyzing my problem I might as well keep it.

Let's change topics. It always amazes me how quickly 2 hours go by. I'm home all day without much adult conversation, so my days tend to kinda drag by, even when I have a lot to do, but these newborn diaper changes and feedings seem to come up so quickly! D will start fussing and I think to myself, "It can't possibly have been 2 hours already!" but it is. (And someone out there is thinking poorly of my time management...)

Speaking of babies, it seems to be the natural progression of things that people who have decided not to have any more kids are glad to not have to deal with everything that having a newborn entails. They enjoy holding OTHER people's babies at that point and are quite happy to hand them back when they're fussy. I, on the other hand, am in the middle of raising young'uns. But I'm not anticipating moving past this stage too quickly. I don't "get through" diaper changes and midnight feedings by dreaming of the day when I won't have to do those things anymore. I feel like I'm living these days in a sleep deprived fog, but I love it! I get to be Mommy to TWO precious, wonderful, beautiful boys! I am in NO RUSH for them to grow up. Look how much Z has grown and changed in just 2 years! (It's especially more apparent now that D is here.) But I do wonder, will I feel differently when I am at a different point in life? When my kids have their kids and I come out to visit, will I be happy to hand a crying infant back to its mother? I don't know.

Today is Day 2 of being without any help whatsoever. All our family who visited after D was born have flown home and even C has been whisked away to Maryland on a business trip. He'll come home on Friday, then his parents arrive Saturday and his sister arrives Sunday. But that's 2 1/2 days away. During the day it isn't any different, but the evenings are hard. There's nothing to break up the time! No one arriving home from work to punctuate the day. And then, of course, I have to do dinner all by myself. I enjoy baking, and I kinda like cooking, but I hate meal planning. Hate is a strong word, but perfectly appropriate. Are you familiar with Myer-Brinks personality profiles? I would link you to something about it but I don't feel like re-positioning to use the mouse. I have a sleeping baby perfectly balanced on my chest between my forearms so typing is possible but not mousing (is that a word?). Where was I? Oh right, personality profile. I'm a Feeler (as opposed to a Thinker). I make decisions based largely on how I feel about them. So when it comes to deciding what to eat, I evaluate how much I feel like eating a particular item, followed shortly by what sides might accompany it, immediately followed by how much I feel like preparing, cooking, and cleaning up after that item. I usually decide against it. And the process begins again. It seems to be beyond me to make a decision! I'm also not comfortable cooking without a recipe, so that limits me too. And so this is Day 2 of having no idea what's dinner and having no one to help me figure it out.

C, on the other hand, really enjoys cooking, doesn't have nearly the aversion to meal planning that I have, and rarely follows a recipe, let alone needing one. In our family, C is the cook, and I clean up. This actually suits us very well, as long as I help with the preparation before he gets home from work. But he won't be home until Friday and it's only Tuesday...

C finally spent his accumulated gift money, sold off his laptop, and bought a new laptop. The old one had a 17" screen and was quite heavy. This new one is much smaller and lighter. I haven't been on the desktop hardly since the laptop arrived about a week ago! I don't think I would be writing this post now on the desktop. I think our best arrangement with that desktop was when it was downstairs in the living room with the tv. Then it moved upstairs and I stopped using it as frequently, and now it's in the office, and I don't feel comfortable spending lots of time in there when Z is awake and playing out here. This new little computer also has a built-in webcam and we've already been using it quite a bit while C is on this trip. We're planning on broadcasting Christmas morning for family who aren't here too.

Christmas. Our Christmas has been pretty consistent the last 6 years: fly to S. CA and stay with C's parents, Christmas Eve party with his maternal grandparents, Christmas morning with his parents, Christmas Dinner at the house with as many family as we can invite (both his maternal and paternal relatives), then drive three hours and spend a few days with my parents and brother (our "Second Christmas"), then we all drive a few more hours to N. CA for our "Third Christmas" with my maternal grandparents. But this Christmas will be completely different. With D being so young, we didn't want to take him on a plane and risk illness before receiving any vaccines, so we're staying here for Christmas and New Year's. It will be our first Christmas not in California. At least it won't be completely without family: C's parents and sister are celebrating with us.

At this point (the end of the post), I usually reread everything at least twice, make minor and major changes, debate about publishing, finally publish the post, reread another 2-3 times, make more edits, and only really let it go when something interrupts, like C announcing dinner's ready or Z insisting I pay attention to him. I so don't feel like rereading this post! Can you tell?

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

The baby's crying, so this is short

I have had very little computer time in the last few weeks, and blogging has not been deemed priority enough to spend my time on. But since I have a few moments (emphasis on few since someone is starting to fuss...) since I have a few moments, I wanted to say that I know this is terribly out of date! There's a belly picture from 21 weeks in the sidebar and the baby's already 3 weeks old!! So I will try to get back on soon and get everything updated. I have all manner of pictures to upload to Shutterfly and videos to upload to the video blog first, but I expect my computer time to increase a little bit, but more on that later ;)

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Friday, November 6, 2009

There's something ALIVE in my tummy!

Hello? ...Is anybody there? Hmm, I hear an echo... I guess it's been a while since I've been here! Well, I'm here now, so what should I talk about?

I attend a MOPS group at a large church downtown. They have an organization called Cradle Roll where older ladies mentor expecting and new moms. I let one of the MOPS organizers put my name on the list. About a week later I get a call from Linda. She starts the phone call by asking me if I need anything. Over and over she keeps asking! I don't know her, why would I accept her help? Then she says I should call her back later in the week to schedule a time to have lunch together. I'm thinking, "Lady, I don't know you, why would I call you back? If you want to arrange lunch, why not set up the date now? Why leave the ball in MY court??" Having sold Cutco I know better than to leave it to some unknown person to call me back to arrange something. They never call. Never.

Well, since Baby might arrive before mom-in-law Kim is here to help, I thought I should probably keep Linda's number so she can watch Zachary while I'm in labor. So I called her this morning to arrange to have lunch on Monday since I'll have the car. What does she do? Tells me to call her Monday morning to set it up. Come on!! Why can't we set it up now? I don't understand. I have MOPS in the morning and a dr's appt in the afternoon, having lunch out would be great, but I'd like to have it arranged! She says, "You call me Monday morning and tell me where you'd like to have lunch and what time, 'cause my schedule is completely open." She's real nice and all, but I'm a little frustrated with her lack of willingness to put something on the calendar. Oh well.

Here's a catch-22 for you: your child needs to see the dr for a checkup, because the calendar says so, but he's perfectly healthy. If you don't go, he'll miss his yearly exam. If you DO go, he'll come home sick from all the sick kids' germs on the toys in the waiting room. What do you do? You take him to the dr, because you're a "good" mom. What does it get you? A clean bill of health, followed by days of sick toddler, followed by days of sick pregnant mommy, probably to be followed by sick daddy. Yay!

We got the recommendation for the pediatrician from my OB. I really like my OB, but I'm not so sure about the pediatrician. It was just one short visit, so it's hard to say. I'll be able to form a better opinion in the next few months since we'll be seeing him a lot after the baby comes. Hopefully my first impression will be disproved.

Let's see what else can I complain about? J/k. I don't mean to sound so negative. Oh! I can talk about potty training. Z has no compunction about making our lives more complicated, so he's decided he wants to start using the potty, even though we have a new baby on the way. He's tinkled in the potty once or twice, and passed gas while sitting on it, but that's as far as we got. Now he won't sit on it, he just dances around on the step stool (playing with himself) until the parent loses patience, hauls him out of the bathroom, and puts his clothes back on. (Did I mention he likes to do all this completely in the nude?) I wouldn't mind spending the 20-30 minutes in the bathroom if he would sit on the seat and try to accomplish something, but this playing around with no serious attempt to use the potty is more than my tired, pregnant self can handle. So we haven't really gotten very far. Then the pediatrician tells me that RIGHT NOW is the best time to train. RIGHT NOW. DON'T HESITATE OR YOU'LL LOST THE OPPORTUNITY. I asked if he really meant that considering we have a baby coming so soon. He said it was unlikely that the older child would regress. That wasn't what I was getting at. I meant that was it really a good time to start potty training when the demands on our time and energy are about to increase so much? I mean, I hardly have the energy to potty train NOW, what's it going to be like when I'm 5x more sleep deprived and have another little body to take care? I won't have the 20-30 minutes to stand in the bathroom and watch Z play around. So we don't know what to do. So we haven't made a solid effort for anything.

What else is going on...? My new job is going well. I really like it. I like what I'm doing, and I like the structure and the amount of time it demands.

Hmm, there's a rumbly in my tumbly. Time for something to eat!

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Typing hurts my neck

I haven't been much in a blogging mood recently. I'm not sure if it's due to anything in particular, but I do know that this chair is horribly uncomfortable and prevents me spending much time on the desktop these days. We sold the two computer chairs we had because they were large and cumbersome it was easier than fitting them in the truck, leaving us with using either a dining chair or a folding chair, neither of which are tall enough, really, for the computer desk in the office. So I get on the desktop only when I have to, do only exactly the things I need to, and then I go sit on the couch or in the rocker for a while. Which reminds me, I really need to fit that slip of paper with the chiropractor recommendation on it....

Anyway, we've been in the apartment for a month now and it still looks like it did 3 days after we moved in. But we have actually been unpacking. The mess is mostly due to empty boxes, packing material, and homeless items. Most of the items we own seem to be homeless at the moment. Did all this stuff really fit in the townhouse and we had space to walk around?? It seems incredible. We're really trying to motivate ourselves to work harder than we have been. Z's been seeming to be on the verge of out-of-control a little more recently, and we've started wondering if it's because the house is in such chaos, though his room is the most orderly of the house. I don't know if the mess is getting to him, or if it's getting to me and I'm less consistent with him.

The Area Director position thing is still up in the air. Long story short, the gal who was supposed to interview me has decided to resign to spend more time with her ill mom, so they're not sure who's interviewing me, or when.

Okay, that's all that my neck and shoulders can take. Hopefully we'll get a new chair soon.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Prenatal: 32 weeks

This morning we had our first prenatal visit with our new OB... [read more]

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Huntsville vs. Nashville = The Same Thing

Well, we've moved! We're now in our new apartment, and our beautiful townhouse is empty and ready for new residents.

The weeks leading up to the actual move weren't too stressful, in hindsight, mostly because we kept listening to each other's nonsense that there wasn't as much to pack as it looked and it wouldn't take much time, so we didn't do nearly enough packing.

The two weekends of moving were nightmares: stressful and hectic. But we got everything here. (Actually, that's not entirely true. There's a hanging storage rack, a workbench, scrap wood, and cans of paint in the townhouse garage. The cans of paint we were planning on leaving behind (they go with the house), but the other stuff we had hoped to get rid off.)

Then we had a few short days to try to unpack. They weren't quite as comfortable as those pre-moving weeks, nor as stressful as the actual move itself. We got things accomplished, but, of course, not nearly as much as would have been nice.

Now C has started work and it's just Z and me here. We're in a different place, our stuff is all in boxes (and therefore impossible to find), but it's the same as it was before all this "adventure": we're bored to tears, stuck in the houseapartment with nowhere to go, and I hate making lunch. Sure, I get work done. I've organized our bathroom and the laundry room, the kitchen's coming along, we can eat at the table and sit on the couch, and most of C's clothes are unpacked, but I don't look forward to doing that stuff. I don't wake up and think "Yay! Another day of figuring out where to stick all the stuff that was previously neatly hidden away in closets!" Have I mentioned that this apartment doesn't have enough closets? It's only 200 square feet smaller than our townhouse, and it was all closet space.

This post is sounding really negative. I don't mean it to be. I'm trying to set up what I really wanted to blog about. The point is that although I LOVE being home with Z, I don't really like being home. I'm tired of not having anywhere to go. There's a little playground near the mailboxes that we've visited a couple times, but it's been raining and the ground is soaked, so that was out today, along with even walking to the mailbox. C's work is really close, so I could drop him off on some days and get the car, but then the question is, where would we GO? I need to join a Meetup group and get involved with MOPS again. But even with those activities, it'll be just like it was in Nashville, and I wasn't entirely happy. Not that being happy is everything! I realize that. But maybe I need to shake things up... Another thing that's been in the back of my mind stems from a post I read on The Happiest Mom.

Have I mentioned my RSS reader before? I'm sure I have. It's how I keep up with all the blogs I read. I think I have around 20 now. They get downloaded to my phone and I read them when I have a moment to myself. I don't have to turn the computer on, and I can even read them when I'm out and about with Z. One of the blogs I read is The Happiest Mom. A recent post was titled "the type of mom you thought you were -vs- the type of mom you are" In the post, the author talks about discovering that she was happier as a mom when she had a job. I recommend you read the post, because it was an excellent post (as they all are) and it will help explain where I'm coming from with this post.

I sent an email this morning to just about every person in my address book with our new mailing address. One of the replies I got was from SR who is an AuPair Director (AD). She said they're looking for an AD in my area, and would I be interested? I know she's at home with her kids, which means it's a compatible position, so I told her I was interested and then asked about 5 million questions about it. I don't know if she's replied yet because my Blogger login is a different Google account than my gmail login because Good Grief you don't want to know! So after I post this, I'll log back into gmail and see what she's sent me.

But am I crazy for even thinking about it? We've just moved to a brand new area, don't know anyone here. We're still living out of boxes (and will be for the next month at the rate we're going) and have a baby due in November. How can I think of taking on the responsibilities of a JOB???

We (C and I) have learned that I'm not very good at the "self-employed" thing. I've always said that I work best under pressure. What that means is that I'm a procrastinator. I don't get things done until someone else is breathing down my neck. Occasionally that someone else is me, but only rarely (like when company's coming and I finally vacuum the cobwebs in the corners, or we're moving and I finally scrub the paint drips out of the bathroom sink). That's why I thrived at Kroll (where I worked full time for about a year and part time for another year) and floundered with Flair (the home business C and I tried to make a go of; the reason I was part time at Kroll).

So, what I want is something to look forward to doing, that I can do from home, around nap schedules (mine included!), yet has some structure, someone to report to, someone looking over my shoulder once in a while. Cutco didn't work for me, but maybe this AuPairCare opportunity will. I don't know. I'm intrigued. I want to do something. I'd love to bring in just a little extra income and relieve some pressure on the budget. I just hope I'm not getting ahead of myself and biting off more than I can chew. Well, all I've done at this point is ask for more information. We'll see what SR says, I'll talk to C, I'll probably talk to my mom about it too. But I tell ya, I'm excited at the prospect!

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Townhouse vs. Apartment

So we decided on an apartment in Huntsville. We already have a truck rented and were planning on moving in on Monday, but we chose the one apartment complex with an office that will be closed on Labor Day. But they were able to process our paperwork quickly enough and we signed everything yesterday. Yes, that means we're paying rent for 4 days before we actually move in, but so be it.

Moving into a smaller place really made us evaluate what's important to us in our home! This is what we currently have:

It's over 1500 square feet (although the tax record shows 1618 so that's how it's listed, but it's wrong) and we bought the place new. Because we bought it (as opposed to renting), we've been able to plant a garden, landscape the front, paint walls, etc. Because it was new, we were able to choose the flooring, the colors, have the shower heads raised, and other little things that I can't even remember now. All that goes away when we move into an apartment.

This is what we will be living in for the next year:

It's just over 1300 square feet, so actually it's not too much smaller that our current home. The most striking similarity between the two is the large, open kitchen and the great room. We like the open feeling of not having walls in the "common" living areas. We're not really big fans of hallways. Most of the apartments we walked through last Wednesday seemed so small and dark, and so much wasted space used up in hallways! This one appealed to us so much because of the openness. But we're giving up a patio. There's not even an option for a patio/balcony with the floorplan at this complex. Not sure why. Seems like it would have been easy to put a patio/balcony to the right of the solarium, under the office. We're sad to not even be able to grow tomatoes in containers. We are going to grow some herbs, since they don't need to be pollinated, but that's about all we can do.

(Speaking of tomatoes, we didn't plant any this year because we weren't sure when we were going to move, but one came up from last year. We let it grow, of course. Turns out to produce large yellow tomatoes, a variety that never produced well last year! Funny how that happens. We also have a couple lettuces and turnips that we weren't expecting, and there's a basil plant that somehow came from our neighbor's garden. Do we blame the cats?)

Another feature we're going to sorely miss is the amount of closet space. In our townhome, we have a large storage space under the stairs, two closets in the master bedroom, not to mention an entire one car garage! This apartment has very little closet space in comparison. Although all three rooms DO have walk-in closets! But we're expecting to fill most of the office closet (and some of the office) with most of the stuff from under the stairs and in the garage. I'll be able to put some things in Zachary's closet, but I do want the closets in the bedrooms to be usable, not just full of boxes and such. Because we chose an apartment with (essentially) three bedrooms, we're planning on putting everything in the apartment and not renting a storage unit. If we had chosen a two-bedroom plan, we would not have had the space to put it all in the apartment! As it is, I'm a little concerned whether it will all fit. And it may all fit just fine, but it'll feel like we're living in a storage shed! I'd really like to contain the storage to one area so we can enjoy tidiness in the rest of the apartment. We'll see how that goes. If it turns out that we need to put boxes in our room or the living room, I'm going to insist on buying fabric and turning the boxes into tables!

So these next two days we're supposed to get EVERYTHING packed up, then friends are coming over after church on Sunday to get it all in the truck, then we drive down on Monday, unload (we've hired a couple guys for 2 hours), and that's it!

Pray that we don't bite each other's heads off as the stress builds, and that Z will get some good naps these next two days, since for the last three he's only been able to snag naps in the car, poor thing.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Bloggity Blog Blog

First off, a question. Would you rather read a post on a single topic, that neatly falls under a clever title, and that is, therefore, easy to comment on, or would you rather read a (longer) post that jumps around, covers multiple topics, and may or may not have a title that makes sense?

I assumed that blog posts were supposed to be on a single topic. Isn't that why there's a title bar at the top? Like reading a story. But a couple of the blogs I read regularly (particularly this one and this one) don't always post on a single topic (in fact, Julia's posts are rarely on a single topic) and they're fun to read. I find that I hardly comment anyway, so that doesn't change anything. (I don't read the comments either, but I'm a little curious as to whether commenters choose a single item to comment on or comment on multiple. As the auther of the post, I would want them to comment on EVERYTHING, but that's just silly).

So almost all of my posts were always on a single topic. If I had multiple topics to blog about, I'd write mulitple posts and space out their publishing. But that doesn't seem to be working for me anymore now that I don't get on the computer as much anymore. How long has it been since my last post? And you can imagine, I have tons of things I've been wanting to blog about! So my posts in the future may become more of the hodge podge that the last one was.

Anyway, it's closing in on 7am and that little boy is already awake. Why doesn't he sleep till 7?? You may have noticed that I haven't been calling him "LB" on here as much. I haven't been calling him Little Bug much of late. And in my twitter feed, I've found it's easier to just use his first initial, since the feed also updates my Facebook status, so my friends know who I'm talking about. So "LB" is now Z on here, and the same goes for "DH" who is now C.

Speaking of C, yesterday was his last day at Vanderbilt!! It's weird to think that he'll probably never work there again. He said Julie (his advisor) was getting nostalgic as the day wore on, but that he wasn't, lol. Two weeks from today he'll start working at his new job (his first "real world" job). In the meantime we have to pack up, move, and paint the house. Well, we don't HAVE to paint the house, but we'd like to. We're taking it off the market (I have GOT to remember to email the realtor!!) and renting it out.

Today is the fourth day in a row that I've gotten up early. Yay!! I've always loved sleeping in, but more often than not, doing so seems to kill the whole day. Getting some time to myself in the morning makes such a difference! I've started working through a Bible study book called The Busy Mom's Guide to Bible Study, so that helps motivate me to get out of bed (that, and the smell of coffee brewing, mmmm).

While I'm getting up early to study God's word, C gets up early to play computer games. Should I be comparing us like that? Probably not. I guess whatever motivates you to get up, right? 'Course, I KNOW he has headphones on and "can't" hear all that noise coming from the toddler's room, so I'll have to go rescue the poor thing soon.

Poor thing, hah! He can climb out of his crib now, without getting hurt. But he's only done it once. I knew he was awake, but wasn't ready to release him yet. Then things got quieter. I stood at the door and listened, and heard LEGOS. He doesn't usually have Legos in his crib... I peeked under the door, and sure enough! Cute little feet running around! But he hasn't done it since.

Oh! My reading experiment! It's been going okay. I still have a tendency to read at the expense of anything else. Mostly while Z's napping, which means I either have to get my work done while he's awake (which isn't always feasible) or vow to do it during the NEXT nap. I have now read 3 of Fannie Flagg's books: Welcome to the World, Baby Girl, Can't Wait to Get to Heaven, and Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. I liked the first one, didn't like the second one so much, and enjoyed the third one (but I'd already seen the movie.) But they're quick and fun to read. The two I have right now aren't due back to the library until the 19th, and I've already finished them, lol. I wanted to read them before we moved, and now I'm wondering if we still have time for me to pick up a couple more....

My crochet projects are also going well. But I can't tell you too much about them because they're gifts and although the recipients don't read this blog, you never know.

I'm in my third trimester now. The uncomfortable trimester. Baby's getting heavier, and he's so low, there's a lot of pressure down there. Sitting is comfortable, standing's not too bad, but switching between the two is hard! Especially standing up! And the tail bone pressure hasn't really gone away. I did get a support belt, and it does actually make a difference, but not as much as I would have liked. And my belly itches. Ooh does it itch!! I remember this with Z too. Somewhere in my third trimester with him, I had awful, red, itchy bumps. It was miserable. They'd actually gone away by the time he was born, but I'm not looking forward to them again! Maybe Mary Anne will have a suggestion for me today.

Speaking of today, I have a really busy schedule, which is totally unusual! I have chiropractor this morning, Mary Anne this afternoon, and then a friend and I are getting Mary Kay facials this evening. (Hey, want to guess whether Z is coming with me or not? I'll give you one guess...)

Well, the sun's up, Z's awake, and I'm getting hungry, so I guess I'm about done. I would say something about trying to post more regularly, but we're moving, so I may not post at all until we're in our new place. Am I looking forward to moving? Um, parts of it. I'm looking forward to reorganizing some things and rearranging furniture (I love rearranging furniture!), but I'm sad to move out of this (town)house (since we're moving into a 2 bedroom apartment :( ) and I'm sad to move away from our friends, our church... But it's too far to commute and there's no job here, so there's no point in dwelling on it!

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hopefully the other book is much better

I have two sad things to report. The first is that I cannot be trusted with a book, and the second is that the "sequel to Pride and Prejudice" is hardly worth reading.

I spent most of today reading the book. I kept telling myself "just one chapter while my coffee brews" "just one chapter while Z is napping" "just one chapter during lunch" then I gave up justifying single chapters and told myself I'd be better off if I just finished the thing and was done with it. So I haven't gotten my chores done yet for today, which is particularly frustrating because I'm much more motivated to work in the morning, and now that it's afternoon (on a gloomy, cloudy day to boot) I'm having trouble getting anything done.

As for the book itself, it was hardly enjoyable. As per my previous post, it is not the same Elizabeth that Jane Austen conceived. Secondly, the book is far too short. For all the misunderstandings that took place, there was no reconciliation! Darcy and Elizabeth become estranged, I found myself frustrated and agitated at all the characters' (Lady Catherine, Miss Bingley, Mrs. Bennet, and others) terrible behavior, and then BOOM! they're back together, all's well, and it's the end of the book! I'm still irritated. I suppose we're supposed to imagine a fantastic reconciliation between Darcy and Elizabeth, but I'm still agitated.

If you DO decide to read this particular book (though I don't recommend it), be warned that it is not the enjoyable diversion that Jane Austen's work is!

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Elizabeth Bennet

Have you read Pride and Prejudice or at least seen the movie? If not, you probably won't be able to answer my question. If you HAVE, then please read on.

Can you imagine Elizabeth Bennet (married to Mr. Darcy) afraid to ask Mr. Darcy for something, then crying with joy when he readily grants it?

No, I can't either. That's just not her personality. But so begins the sequel to Pride and Prejudice. Here are the particular passages:

"But she [Elizabeth] disliked, if the truth were to be told, to be beholden to anyone, especially Mr. Darcy, for he had already given her so much that she was embarrassed to thank him further. [...] Mr. Darcy was generous in his love as well as in his gifts; and the more he showered on his wife, the less she felt able to ask for further kindnesses."

[She then asks if her mother and sister might come to Pemberely for Christmas]

"Mr. Darcy, as she had known he would be, was geniality itself. [...] Elizabeth went into Mr. Darcy's arms and nearly wept at the ease with which all this had been accomplished."

What do you think? I don't think that sounds like Elizabeth. So I will stop thinking of her as the same Elizabeth Bennet and enjoy the book anyway!

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Experiment

Three things happened recently (they always come in threes, don't they?) that made me realize how much I miss reading. The first thing was when DH asked me to read a book about leadership. I found it rather frustrating as it was full of cliches and examples that I didn't understand. Perhaps if I were a business professional I wouldn't have minded the cliches, and if I were more familiar with everything and everyone in the world I would have understood the examples (the author used "real-life" people in his examples to make a point. The problem was that I didn't recognize the names and he didn't explain the example), but as someone who enjoys fiction (or historical fiction at best), I got very little enjoyment out of the book.

The second thing that happened was when a friend asked if I wanted to borrow a book she had recently finished. I declined, saying that I don't make time to read anymore. I didn't want the book to sit on my shelf, unread, when I knew another friend wanted to read it. It made me sad to turn down a book.

The third thing was a blog post by a friend who recently got a job working at Borders. She says, " I was having a hard enough time keeping up with the books I knew about; now I discover there is a whole world of books I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW EXISTED that I also want to read!" And I realized how much I miss reading.

I used to read all the time, and haven't been reading much since I quit working and starting staying home full time. While I was working, I would read during my lunch break. I took a 30 minute lunch break so as to be able to get off sooner, and I only read during that break. Thirty glorious minutes to lose myself completely in a different world. Once I started staying home full time, I found that without the 30 minute constraint, I would neglect everything else (okay, except for the baby) to read until I'd finish the book. Or if I tried to limit myself to just reading in the evening before bed, I couldn't sleep because my mind was racing. It just didn't work. And so I stopped reading.

But, like that fateful cup of coffee the other morning, I've succumbed to temptation. DH worked at home today, so while Z was napping, I snuck off to the library (I didn't really sneak out, DH knew I was leaving). I picked up two books: Pemberley by Emma Tennant (a sequel to Pride and Prejudice!!!) and Welcome to the World, Baby Girl by Fannie Flagg (author of Fried Green Tomatoes..., the movie version of which we recently watched). I'm really looking forward to both of them, but I have to learn to read in moderation so I can still keep bellies full and the house in a reasonable state of cleanliness. So it's an experiment. If I do well, I get to check out more books, or maybe even spend some Borders gift cards I've got in my wallet. The books are due Sept. 9 (Z's 2nd birthday!), so hopefully I'll be giving you an update around that time. If I'm not ignoring this blog and everything else while voraciously devouring books.

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Monday, August 17, 2009


I have written so many blog posts in my head, but I haven't been taking the time to sit on the computer to type them up. Or, when I DO get a chance to sit on the computer for a while, I can't remember what I wanted to write about! So here's a catch-up, rather random, whatever-occurs-to-me sort of thing.

I'm back on coffee, after 6 months of being coffee-free. But I'm not drinking full-strength caffeine: of the three scoops I put in the machine, two are decaf. So that's not so bad, right? (I'm just not going to tell Mary Anne...)

Julie is taking DH and me to dinner on Saturday. She asked for suggestions, then rejected everything DH brought up saying they weren't fancy enough (!). We decided we couldn't bring Z along to such a fancy restaurant. The plan is to wear an outfit such that it's very obvious it's a pregnant belly, not just a fat one, and let that start the conversation, then we'll have a couple pictures of Z on hand to show her. She'll get to meet him the following week at the shindig she's hosting at her house for all of her labrats employees for all of the people who work in her lab.

Z climbed out of his crib again the other day. I heard the sound of legos as I walked past his room, so I looked under the door and saw cute little feet running around. But that was several days ago and he hasn't done it since. We have security measures in place to keep him contained to the upstairs if he does crawl out again though (gate at the top of the stairs, gate across the computer room, and doorknob covers on the bathroom doors and my closet). These security measures also make it possible for me to get housework done upstairs when he's awake.

DH keeps asking me what I think of the three possible job locations: Huntsville, Sylmar, and Mountain View. Problem is that I don't see the point of spending any more energy on the question than we've already spent until we get some offer letters. Why get all excited about a location, just to be disappointed by an inadequate offer letter? Or get a better offer for a different location? We already got all excited about one location, and then not a single company applied to returned the interest, so that location isn't even in the running. I only have so much energy these days, so I have to prioritize what I want to spend it on.

Which brings us back to the coffee. For some people, coffee (caffeine) keeps them awake. For others, it doesn't have much of an effect (DH claims he's one of these, though I beg to differ). For me, it energizes me. Case in point: a few days ago, while DH was off in CA for an interview, Z and I had McD's for dinner. I had a large sweet tea. I refilled the cup before we left. At 10 o'clock at night I found myself enthusiastically folding laundry and putting away clothes, after having cleaned the kitchen till it sparkled and scrubbed our bathroom till it shone. I didn't fall asleep until closer to midnight that night. (At first I thought it was the famous nesting instinct, which had me washing baby clothes at 6 am one morning while pregnant with Z, but then I remembered the sweet tea.) So the next morning I made coffee (2/3 decaf 1/3 reg) and vacuumed the downstairs, scrubbed the kitchen floor, and cleaned the other two bathrooms. And so I've decided it's not worth forgoing my beloved coffee in the morning anymore. The baby has developed past the critical stage where caffeine is scariest, and I'm actually getting my chores done these days.

Speaking of the baby, we've come to a naming impasse. One of us would like to name him Patrick. The other would like to name him Daniel. Neither of us seems willing to budge. (Actually I think a compromise would be acceptable, but nothing worthy has presented itself). The funny thing is that the person who likes Patrick (person A), hated it when we were expecting Z. It was actually person B's favorite name, but A talked B out of it. Now that we're expecting our second one, A has decided that Patrick isn't really so bad after all. But B was talked out of it so completely that B doesn't like it at all now. Besides, B claims that it "feels wrong for this baby" while Daniel "feels right". So we're stuck. I'm thinking of emailing the question to friends and family and getting their input, without identifying which one of us prefers which name. What's preventing me, however, is the fear of negative (as in, trying-to-talk-us-out-of-the-name) comments about the name I like. So I haven't done it yet.

We've pretty much decided on a middle name (I think), but are keeping quiet about it to most people, because SOMETHING has to be a surprise when he's born!

When I picked Z up from the church nursery last week (not yesterday, but the week before), the kids were being watched by two older gentlemen. One of them apologized for not knowing how to use cloth diapers and that the "fancy diaper job" I'd find was his. I'm used to people not knowing what to do. I should probably invest in some all-in-ones for this next baby. Anyway, after we got home and it was time for a diaper change, I found Z in a disposable diaper with the diaper cover over it. (The diaper cover is waterproof, since moisture would just soak through the cloth diapers into the clothing without a cover.) The guy wasn't kidding when he said he didn't know what he was doing! But I didn't think of it again until yesterday at church. The same guy apologized again and told me that he owed me for a cloth diaper. Turns out, he had thrown the cloth diaper away! In the trash! Cloth! As if it were disposable! (THIS is why there should always be a woman in the nursery! Or at least a competent father) I didn't really know what to say. I hadn't noticed because I don't count my diapers (why would I need to?). Fortunately he didn't throw the cover away! Those covers are at least $10 each. The diaper cost a little more than $2, but you can't get just one, and you have to get them online, which means you have to pay for shipping, and I don't really expect him to pay me back. Just one of the risks of using cloth in a disposable world I guess!

Remember that guy who came into our church one day and got my address? Well it didn't stop after just one letter. He called the church office asking for my phone number (they didn't give it to him, thankfully), and he's sent me three letters since (none of them with adequate postage. I should take them to the post office and ask about that...). I was considering writing back to him and asking him to stop sending invitations to me, but I haven't decided if it's worth the stamp.

DH has new laptop fever. We currently have one desktop computer (which is technically "mine") and one laptop (which was supposed to be "ours" but turned into "his" because he takes it to school). The laptop has a 17" widescreen and is rather heavy (it's like a portable desktop). Now that he's looking at a new job that will not require and may even prohibit using his personal computer for work, he's ready to get rid of the behemoth and get something smaller, lighter, and with a longer battery life. So we've been to Office Depot and Best Buy looking at the computers on display. We've configured laptops many times over on the Dell and HP websites. We've scoured the web for what good deals are coming up. I think he knows we can't afford to get one for at least a little while, but now that he's gotten started, he can't stop thinking about it. He thinks we might switch computers - the desktop would become his so he can do his programming on the 20" widescreen and I would get the small, light, portable laptop so I can keep up with whatever computer work I have without having to wait for naptime. It sounds like a good plan. But the desktop was never really "mine" after we moved here, and I know the new laptop wouldn't stay "mine" either. What bothers me about sharing a computer is that we have different organization styles, and he likes to install programs, which leaves me with a cluttered computer full of programs I don't use. We'll see. We probably do need to downsize the laptop. The thing is too hot and heavy to use on your lap, and if we sell it now we might get as much as $500 for it. I think if we DO get a small laptop, and we DO "switch" computers, I'll create two accounts on "my" laptop: one for me and one for him, so at least he can't clutter up my half.

My Mary Kay representative got herself promoted to a Directorship position, so she's giving free facials to all her current customers. I'm kindof excited! She'd love for me to bring a guest or two, and is offering free stuff for doing so. I've asked a couple friends if they'd be interested, but I'm not really sure they would be. We'll see.

Yesterday was our 6-year anniversary. How did we celebrate it? We played board games all weekend and then went over to a friends house for BBQ/bible study last night. We have a gift certificate for a restaurant ($25 gift certificate that I paid $2 for at restaurant.com), but we haven't felt motivated to use it. Is that weird? (yes, it's weird). Thing is, we went out for DH's birthday (8/10), DH ate out almost the whole time he was in CA for interviews, Z and I ate out a couple times while he was gone (although he ate at sushi and mexican restaurants and we had fast food. Not the same category of "eating out" in my book!), and then Julie's taking us out on Saturday and hosting everyone the following week, and we couldn't pass up bible study because getting together with our friends is so much fun and we don't have that many more opportunities since we're moving soon, and so we haven't felt like using up this fantastic gift certificate! It's rather funny, actually. It's good for a while yet, so maybe we'll use it when we're getting ready to move and don't want to buy any more groceries. Or maybe to celebrate getting/accepting an offer letter.

Well, this has probably turned into a long enough post to make up for my lack of recent posts. And I'm hungry. Time for a snack. Haha, you should hear Z say "snack"! He only says the first part: "sna", and he makes it so nasal, it's hilarious! He even scrunches up his nose while he says it. His vocabulary is exploding, by the way. He's adding new words every day, and just gobbles up the time I spend to teach him something new. The other day we went over the facial features: eyes, ears, nose, and mouth, over and over and over and over. Good fun. My favorite new one recently is "chee", as in "change". It means "I need a diaper change". I love that he's aware and comes TO me now!

Okay, I'm really done now :)

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Health Insurance

Since DH is graduating this month, his health insurance will be ending. Even though it's been paid for through the end of the month, the school is cutting it off next week, because he's technically no longer a student next week (his advisor isn't very happy about THAT, since she's the one who paid for it). So we've applied to add him to my policy.

I've had this policy since Nov. 2007, so almost 2 years. They called me today with some "medical questions from the underwriters" - questions about MY medical history, even though I've been on this policy for almost 2 years now! They were asking about 2 prescriptions I had had filled in July 2006. July 2006? That's THREE years ago! One prescription was for Valium when I had Lasik surgery, so they weren't worried about that one. The other was for a drug that's often prescriped for psychosis. I didn't know that at the time it was prescribed for me. I had been suffering from chronic headaches and finally went in to see a doctor. He immediately prescribed this nasty stuff. I took it for about three days. It made me dizzy and uncomfortable, so I threw the rest out. I've never taken it since, and I've never gone back to that doctor. (What kind of doctor prescribes medication like that to someone in her twenties FIRST THING anyway??) Two months later, a chiropractor solved my chronic headache problem without drugs. I haven't had chronic headaches like that since, but the nurse on the phone wanted to know: How long had I been having the headaches before the medication was prescribed? What is the dose of my medication now? How frequent are my headaches now? Have I ever been hospitalized for headaches? Etc.

What I don't understand is why they're asking these questions NOW. The headache problem has been gone for almost three years now, I've been on the policy for almost 2, how is this information relevant? I could understand if I were applying for a new policy, but I wasn't. As a matter of fact, the application is for MY HUSBAND. They didn't ask me a single question about his medical history.

I figure that they're going to totally mess up my policy. They may or may not add DH, but they'll drop Z (because he wasn't listed on the application because, again, it was simply an application to ADD SOMEONE), and they'll raise the premiums because of this "pre-existing headache condition". If they do, I'll call and complain, and then drop the policy as soon as the health insurance from DH's new employer kicks in. They'll think I'm dropping it because I'm dissatisfied with their service, and while I would be, they don't have to know that's not the reason I'm dropping it.

(Before I publish this though, I want to add that I would MUCH RATHER go through this than be on Obama's health care plan. A bureaucrat may decide whether to insure me or not, but I don't want bureaucrats deciding whether to approve a procedure or medication for me, thank-you-very-much.)

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Update" sounds like such a good thing!

I updated my iPhone OS to version 3.0 last month and have had all manner of trouble ever since. I wish I hadn't updated!! Why don't companies release an OS version that's all ready to go instead of one that's full of bugs? I'm really frustrated.

The problems:
  • The update removed the restrictions I had installed to prevent the phone from connecting to the data network, since we weren't paying for the data service. This resulted in $200 worth of data downloads before I realized what was happening and reinstalled the restrictions.
  • OS 3.0 causes overheating problems. Result: loss of battery life. I can barely get through an entire day without needing to recharge.
  • Whether it's the overheating or something else, iTunes cannot read the information on my phone, which means I can't sync with my computer, which means I have no backup of the info on my phone.
  • Last time I tried to sync, iTunes removed all the music off my phone. It's still on my computer, but I no longer have music on my phone (although the memory indicators show that the music files are still taking up space on my computer.)
  • Starting this morning, my phone does not ring when someone calls it. I don't know I've received a call until the notification of new voicemail comes through. And the phone does not show that I've missed a call.
DH left for CA this afternoon (interview) and Z went down for a nap (though he's not sleeping, little booger). I decided it would be a good time to try to fix some of these problems. I stopped when I was referred to this website. Like I'm going to try to figure out what it's saying while my computer-guru husband is 2,000 miles away!! So I'm just going to make-do until hubby gets home.

On a positive note, I called AT&T Wireless Customer Service regarding the $200 worth of data downloads. I applied a combination of the "polite persistence" technique and the "playing dumb" technique and talked the bill down to $30. (What she did was sign me up for the data plan at $15/month and back-dated it to include the data usage from last month, so it's $15 for last month, $15 for this month, and it'll be $15 for each month forward unless we remove the service. Since this month is paid for, we'll keep it on and decide what to do later.) I was actually quite impressed with the quality of the customer service. She even admitted when she didn't know the answer to a question! ("So how do you know," I asked, "whether it was really my phone downloading the data?" They have no way of knowing. I could have claimed it wasn't my phone.)

Well, that boy is refusing to sleep and sounding like he'll cry himself hoarse, so I guess I better get up and go get him. Sigh. I was looking forward to a couple of hours to myself this afternoon. Oh well!

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

The only titles I could think of were terrible cliches

It's gloomy today and has me feeling all nostalgic (or perhaps it's because I'm home again after being away)

The radio is playing the same songs we listened to when we first moved to Nashville (why don't Christian stations have more songs?), so I keep thinking about that little apartment we were in and we didn't have kids and I was looking forward to starting my first full time job.

The weather is cooler, and cloudy, and reminds me of fall and going back to school. I keep thinking about those First Day of School days.

I stand in my backyard with my pregnant belly and keep thinking about standing in that same spot with a pregnant belly two years ago (is Z really almost TWO??).

Why do we get sad about time passing? Why do we look back and long for "the way things were"? There's so much ahead to look forward to! For us, it's the end of DH's graduate journey: he will receive his doctorate on August 7. We will be leaving Nashville, as there are no job prospects here for him but plenty in other places. Though sad, we're excited about moving to a new city. And we have a new little one on the way, who is going to change our lives as completely as Z did when he arrived. So why do I keep dwelling on the past? I'm letting the lack of sunshine get to me. (This is why moving to the northwest would be so difficult for me).

Well, Z is awake and loud, so I better get him out before he destroys something or hurts himself. I bet he'll help pull me out of this funk :)

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Monday, July 27, 2009

I gots me some internet

I'm at my aunt and uncle's house right now because they have high speed internet and I need to check in to my flight 24 hours before the flight so I can get good seats (Southwest doesn't have assigned seating). So I'm sitting here, waiting for the minutes to count down, and I feel like I SHOULD write a blog post. Because I've been completely disconnected from the internet for almost an entire week and I have internet right now, so shouldn't I be taking full advantage of it?? So I sat here for a few minutes, trying to think of a topic, and nothing occurs to me! So you're reading a blog post about nothing. I won't blame you if you don't comment. Z and I fly home tomorrow evening (we get home close to 1 in the morning). I should have some more interesting blog posts for you after we get back in the routine.

In the meantime, you'll be glad to know that I got A seating, position 37 for my flight (that will make sense to fellow Southwest fliers) and it's a direct flight, though we do have a stop along the way. (So all that means is that we don't change planes, unlike our flight out here.)

Okay! That's all I've got! Talk to you later!

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Don't I know not to talk to strangers??

Last Sunday in church, an older gentlemen I had never met before came up to me after the service and said, "If you give me your name and address, I'll send you a written invitation." He had just been speaking with DH who walked away, so I assumed this guy had said something to him about asking me this. I asked him what the invitation was for and he handed me folded up wadded stack of about 3 sheets stapled together. I flipped through it and it looked like a handout/worksheet with questions that had not been filled out. I asked again what it was and he said, "Toastmasters." I told him I wasn't familiar with what that was, what is it? And he said, "Public speaking."

Now, although I had never met him before, I figured he was one of the older folks in our church - there are several I've never met or only met once. And he had just been talking to DH, so I thought HE was clued in on what was going on. For some reason, I assumed this guy had told DH he wanted my address and DH had agreed. Which is why he walked away. All was well. So I gave the guy my address. After all, we're in church, that should be a pretty safe place, right? (do you like my foreshadowing, btw?)

After I finished writing my address, I stood there holding his pen (trying to give it back) as he explained that he would be at Golden Corral (an eating/entertainment type place) on Tuesday evening at such-and-such time. Then he abruptly turned away and began speaking with two gentlemen (who I know are in our church). I stood there a moment, wondering if he was going to come back, thinking it might be rude of me to just walk away. But DH was on the other side of the sanctuary, gesturing for me to come so we could go get LB and get some lunch. So I walked away.

DH and I discussed the guy as we were walking out and it turned out that DH did NOT know he wanted my address. As a matter of fact, the guy wouldn't have spoken to DH at all had DH not said hello to him first! Upon seeing him walking down the aisle after the service, DH thought the same thing I had: an older gentleman in our church whom we hadn't met. So he said hello. The guy stopped and asked DH, "Do you know me? How do you know me?" The conversation didn't last long and then DH walked away. He had no idea that this guy apparently had a purpose in talking to me. I was rather upset. Looking back on it, I felt preyed upon. This guy had obviously come in from the outside, saw me on stage (remember I'm part of the worship team), and decided to ask for my personal information. And like the naive girl that I try not to be, I gave it to him. I felt DH should have been there to protect me. So I prayed that the guy wouldn't use my address in any strange way. (Can you imagine him showing up at my door while DH is at work and it's just LB and me at home? THAT'S why we have a peephole! They're not installed by the builder, but we paid a guy to put one in. Custom placed for my height too.)

Then yesterday an envelope arrived in the mail with this letter inside (click to enlarge):

So the guy wasn't completely off his rocker: there really IS some program going on at Golden Corral next Tuesday. But look at that handwriting. It looks like it was written by either a 10-year old or a 90-year old (or someone who had suffered a stroke perhaps). And the envelope had two stamps on it. Two stamps of 28 cents each. With no return address. I'm a little comforted that he told me the truth when he asked for my address. I'm a little disconcerted by the binder paper. But he did put quite a bit of effort into it! Even gave me HIS address. (We looked it up: within walking distance of the church). Yes, I blacked his address out. Just because I'M silly enough to give my address to strange men doesn't mean I should post HIS address on the internet for ALL the weirdos. (See how I flatter myself that I should worry about weirdos visiting my blog!)

So I think this story ends well. Nothing horrific happened. I figured out later what I SHOULD have said. As soon as he asked for my address I should have ignored the question and said something like, "I don't believe we've met. Are you a member or been attending here long?" And then if he continued to press for the address I should have gracefully declined. But at the time, I was operating under false assumptions (namely, that DH knew what was going on.) In the future I'll be prepared! And no, I'm not going to the "program". We looked up Toastmasters online. It does exist and it IS public speaking. But the list of events does not show anything at the Golden Corral next Tuesday at 6pm (perhaps he's senile and is inviting me to some event that USED to take place). Besides that, I'll be out of town, having flown out that morning for CA!

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Monday, July 13, 2009

It's called a "sticky"

That "post" at the top? Isn't really a post, it's called a "sticky", like a sticky note. But I figured it was the best way (besides calling and emailing, you know, those touchy-feely communication methods) to keep family and friends updated. I'm not entirely sure how many of our family and friends regularly visit my blog, but the info is here for whomever happens to stumble this way. And having it passively available is a really easy to alleviate my guilt for not calling/emailing ;)

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Friday, July 10, 2009


It's early evening the day before Fourth of July. The house is full of family who've gathered to celebrate the holiday together the following evening. Several conversations are going on, despite frequent distractions caused by the youngest family member, Zachary, who is not yet two. From his point of view, everyone is there to play with him, and he has very little concern for any conversation they may be trying to have. Grandpa Mark, on the other hand, is excited for dusk when the fireflies appear. He reminds everyone, every couple minutes or so, that the fireflies will be out soon.

It's finally getting to be twilight, and we move outside. We can see fireflies blinking in the bushes. Zachary thoroughly enjoys the freedom he's allowed in the backyard. Auntie Beth and Cameron emerge from the house with plastic containers for catching the fireflies. Grandpa Mark is content to simply watch the fireflies. He wonders aloud why there aren't any fireflies in his homestate of California. "Perhaps someone should smuggle a couple in and see if they'll make it," he suggests, not for the first time. But no one offers to lead the experiment.
The plastic containers now have some inhabitants, and Auntie Beth and Cameron are eager to show them to Zachary. "Here Zachary! Look! See inside? Here, hold out your hand. Open your hand. Now hold still. Hold still. There, see? Oh, don't touch! That's a firefly. Can you say 'firefly'? Oh there he goes! Did you see him glow? He flew away, didn't he?"

The toddler doesn't respond, but his eyes are full of delight and wonder. He stands there a minute, looking around. Spotting Auntie Beth again, he trots over to her with his hand out.
"Do you want another one? Okay, I'll catch another one for you." It doesn't take long for her to find one and put it on the outstretched hand. The little boy is mesmerized.

The evening continues in this way - Zachary finding joy and delight in watching and holding fireflies, the rest of us finding joy and delight in watching Zachary - until the darkness is thick upon us. We finally move back inside and say our goodnights, anticipating an exciting Fourth filled with food, family, and fireworks.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009


It's been a while since my last post! Although we had internet access at my sister-in-law's house, I didn't take much computer time. We didn't keep our schedule too busy, which was nice, and I got lots of help playing with and taking care of LB! Poor DH, however, found himself spending most of the week finishing up his dissertation. We all wished that it could have been finished before the week started, but that didn't work out. The good news is that his dissertation is DONE and has been submitted to his committee!!! (If you're not familiar with the Ph.D. world, I'll just say that this is the BEGINNING OF THE END, which is an excellent thing!) So here's the timetable for his degree:
  • Dissertation has been submitted to the committee.
  • They have until July 20th (technically July 19th? not sure) to make any changes/recommendations/complaints/etc.
  • On July 20th DH give his DEFENSE. This means a 45 minutes presentation followed by a question and answer session that can last as long as his committee wants to grill him.
  • Following the defense, the committee will deliberate and then inform DH of the outcome: pass or not. Unlike with the proposal, however, it's highly unlikely that he would have been allowed to get this far and not pass, so we're not too worried.
  • Then the paperwork gets all turned in, I get to explain to DH's advisor that we have a son, and then DH will get his diploma in August.

So with the clock ticking down on DH's time at Vanderbilt, he's been searching for and applying for jobs. So far he's submitted applications to Google and Microsoft in WA and CA and some military contracting companies in AL and while we were visiting family in PA he applied for a positing with St. Jude Medical in Southern CA. One of the Google positins and the St. Jude position came with recommendations from friends, and so far the St. Jude possibility is the only one to respond. DH spoke with an HR representation yesterday, and will be setting up a phone interview in the next couple days. It's very exciting! First of all, we're excited simply that he's gotten a "call back". (You know, you put yourself out there and you're never really sure whether anyone will notice!). It's also very exciting because the work would require the knowledge and experience he has from BOTH of his fields (he has degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Computer Science). Finally, it's really exciting because of the location. Although CA IS more expensive in terms on cost of living, it's SO CLOSE to family. Let me help you visualize it (because I'm a visual person).
My parents and his parents are in So. CA, about 3 hours away from each other. The path between them is an L shape (to go from mine to his, you go south, then east). The job opportunity is right at the corner of the L. I'm not kidding. It's as close to halfway between them as you can get! It's more than coincidence, I'm sure.
So we're trying not to get TOO excited, because it still may not work out, but we're definitely excited.

I'm also excited for Friday morning. We have our 2nd trimester ultrasound, and hopefully we'll be able to determine the gender! I hope the baby cooperates :) It's kind of silly, but I feel like so many things hinge on knowing whether it's a girl or boy! Knowing the gender will help us pick a name, decide on whether we're sticking with Classic Pooh or switching to a more pink theme, and we need to know if LB's clothes will work or if we need to ask for girls' clothes!

Speaking of LB, that boy is getting so tall, we need to get him a new car seat! The shoulder straps are too low - they're behind his shoulders instead of above them. We were in Walmart last night and stopped in the baby section to look at the car seats. LB was noisy and pointing and full of saying "please" (in sign language) until we finally figured out what he wanted: he wanted to get in the car seats that were on display! Which turned out to be good, because then we could see if the shoulder strap slots were tall enough. We probably won't get a new one though, not on our budget! So I've found a couple on Craigslist that might work. I'm waiting for the measurement from the seat (where the child sits) to the top strap slot. We decided we need to get one before we move since we'll probably be driving across country and LB needs to have a properly fitting car seat.

So driving across country. It's kinda fun. DH and I have done it twice: from New Orleans to So. CA after we graduated from Tulane (just the two of us) and then from So. CA to here (with DH's folks and brother). This time, however, we would be traveling not only with a toddler, but two cats as well! We haven't spent much time working out all the details yet, since we don't know where we're going yet, but we do know that shipping the cats could costs as much as $1,000. It'd be nice to ship the cats and have movers come in, pack up our house and drive the truck, but we may have to do more of it ourselves, depending on what kind of help DH's new company can give us. So we'll see.

Well, back to unpacking, washing diapers, and other such things.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Prenatal #3

Zachary and I met with Mary Ann this morning. We dropped Curtis off at work and made it to Mary Ann’s early for an 8:30 appointment (very proud of ourselves for getting all three out the door on time!!). We talked about...[Read More]

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

What NOT to do with a broken pickle jar

Our garbage disposal stopped working last week. Wednesday evening, I think. Made noise, no spin. Finally, almost a week later, I started to take it apart. I couldn't get some of the screws, so it had to wait till DH got home. (So we went out to dinner, bummer ;) ). The next day, I took it into the sunshine and managed to pry out the problem. APPARENTLY, you can't put broken glass down the garbage disposal! Who knew?! </sarcasm>

I'm sorry to say that we know exactly who DIDN'T know: DH. It's also how I remember that it quit on Wednesday. See, DH broke a pickle jar that evening. LB was still strapped in his high chair, so we didn't have to worry about him, but apparently we needed to worry about me. I cut my finger on the broken jar. A real macho cut too: tried to take a chunk of skin right off the knuckle of my little finger. Left all manner of blood on the jar, on the floor, and dripping down my leg. So that put me out of commission of helping to clean up. Now, a week after its demise, we see that the pickle jar had two lessons for us: for me, being more careful when cleaning up broken glass; and for DH, DON'T PUT GLASS DOWN THE GARBAGE DISPOSAL!! IT'S A ROCK! ROCKS DON'T GO DOWN THE SINK!!!!

I think my finger's healing just fine, btw. I don't really know because I haven't taken off the bandaid since Sunday. My finger hasn't fallen off or anything, so I assume all's well.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New Blog

When I was pregnant with LB I had a pregnancy website where I recorded all the goings-on of the pregnancy: prenatal visits, ultrasound, belly photos, thoughts, etc. So I have one again: baby.humphreyonline.us. I like having everything in one place. I may or may not continue with pregnancy posts here, so that site will be the best place to keep up :)

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday Morning

(This post was supposed to have been published already. Don't know why it didn't!)

We picked up this folding table and chair (two chairs, actually) for $6 at a garage sale. Love it! It’s susceptible to scissors, so we’ll have to be careful as toddlers turn to preschoolers. I was trying to catch up on dishes this morning after breakfast (our garbage disposal quit. Not happy), and so left LB to his own devices. IMG_0104Fortunately for the both of us, he found something productive to do. If I’d had the camera downstairs, I would have taken video: he was “reading” out loud to himself and pointing to the pictures. And when he’d finished with one book, he dropped it on the floor and started on another one. I think he got through three books before deciding to do something else (namely, hang on my leg). So precious!


Later, when sitting still was no longer appealing, he found the cats to be very entertaining. One escaped to the great outdoors while the other one (who is currently sitting on my lap, making me hot and covering my yellow shirt with black fur) found behind the tv to be a safe haven from the toddler terror.

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From fabric to shirt

Here is DH’s shirt! I took the picture with my phone. My phone takes terrible pictures, which is a little disappointing. Anyway, I think I did a pretty good job on this shirt! Straight lines of stitching, I even remembered to zig-zig seams (maybe someday I’ll have a serge machine). Of course, there are little mistakes, and it certainly wouldn’t win any awards (except maybe a thrift award since I eked it out of so little fabric! I even had enough for a pocket!) Speaking of the pocket, let’s take a closer look – are those FEET sticking out underneath?
There’s a hula girl in his pocket! If you scroll back up to the other picture and imagine the shirt without the pocket, you’ll see that there would have been two hula girls in the front. Yeah, not so much. So even if I’d HAD enough fabric to match the pocket, I wouldn’t have! And I couldn’t quite cover her feet because then the pocket would have been too low and might have looked funny. As it is, it’s a little too close to the sleeve. If I use this pattern again (which I probably will), I’ll put the pocket a little closer to the center front. But the vertical placement is good.

DH really likes the shirt, and declared that it is now his favorite Hawaiian shirt. He also couldn’t get over how cool it felt compared to wearing a t-shirt, and so now he understands why my dad wears Hawaiian shirts ALL THE TIME in hot Bakersfield (CA). (Well, and there’s the fact that my dad’s dad was born in Hawaii). So DH and I are now on a mission to pick up Hawaiian fabric wherever we see a good deal so I can fill his closet with them. So now I just have to figure out exactly how much yardage is perfect: 2 yards was almost too little and 2 5/8 is way more than we need.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Hawaiian shirt fabric

Somewhere between moving the computers upstairs and packing up "stuff" that's now stored in the garage, I found a bag of fabric. I have lots of materials and supplies from projects started and finished as well as unfinished projects. But this bag was full of materials for a project never started! The date on the receipt was 4/27/2006. Wow. That's three years ago, and I had completely forgotten about it! Of course as soon as I saw the fabric I remembered: DH and I had been at Walmart and saw this beautiful Hawaiian fabric on the sale shelf. We absolutely couldn't resist the pattern and the price. Not having a pattern, however, (and apparently being unable to walk over to the pattern section) we guessed how much yardage we would need for a shirt and bought 2 yards.

So when I found this fabric (again), I kept it in the back of my mind and realized last week that a great use would be to make a shirt for DH for Father's Day! (My family loves handmade Hawaiian shirts. DH has two from several years ago and I can't tell you how many my dad has. California, you know?). I figured I could put it together during LB's naps while DH was at work and surprise him with it.

Well, I didn't get a chance to even begin working on it until after the wedding. We must have picked up (or my mom gave us) a pattern at some point because there was one in the bag. The only problem is that the pattern called for 2 5/8 yards. I thought maybe I could squeeze the pattern on the fabric. I folded the fabric just so for the back piece to not use any more fabric than absolutely necessary, pinned it in place, then tried laying out the rest of the pieces. Looking at the shirt front on the fabric (and needing 2 of them) and the sleeve (and needing 2 as well), I just didn't see how it could all fit. I told my mom as much (she was on the phone trying to help) and we were both severely disappointed. Since I had purchased the fabric at Walmart, I thought maybe they'd still have it and I could pick up another 1/2 yard or so.

The next day, DH stayed home to work (because his advisor was out of town), so LB and I had the car. I told DH I has "some errands" to run and off we went. We went to 3, THREE!! different Walmarts, NOT including the one we normally frequent. None of them carry fabric anymore. They've all succumbed to the reorganization that took over ours several months ago (this reminds me of the Nothing that eats up Fantasia in The Neverending Story). I was, again, severely disappointed. Although LB and I did not come home empty-handed, it was not the successful shopping trip it was supposed to be.

After lunch I decided I really needed to get fabric or I would have enough time to make the shirt before Father's Day. So I convinced DH that LB would take a long afternoon nap since he had had no nap in the morning, and I took off again. I headed to our closest JoAnn's store: 20 minutes away. They had Hawaiian fabric on 60% off! So I picked up my 2 5/8 yards and came home (and LB was still asleep, bless his heart).

That evening, after LB had gone to bed, I pulled out the (newly purchased) fabric and began laying out the pattern. Again, I folded it just so, pinned the back in place, and laid out the other pieces. Looking at the front (and needing two), it just didn't look like it was going to fit! But I knew I had enough fabric this time. So I unpinned the back, unfolded the fabric, and started with the front piece and sleeves, THEN laid out the back, collar (twice), and pocket. All the pieces fit. They fit so well, in fact, with quite a bit of fabric left over, that I had a funny feeling I didn't really need that 5/8 after all.

So, I went BACK to the fabric from 3 years ago, and realized that I liked it ten times better than the stuff I had just bought. Which gave me motivation to spend the next half hour fiddling with the pattern pieces and trying to squeeze them in. It was so close! I could feel it. I knew it would work, but I didn't want to mess up, since I couldn't get anymore of the fabric. After much deliberation (and I mean MUCH), I decided it worth ruining the surprise to have my engineer's help.

So DH came to my rescue. He understood that I had wanted to surprise him, and he assured me that he still felt very special that I was making a shirt for him (and I think he was a little flattered that I needed his help). It didn't take him but a couple minutes to see that everything would fit, if we just put this here and that there and be sure to cut this out first. And so I did. After I cut out the fronts and back, I realized that I could even get the sleeves facing the right way (I had thouht I would need to cut the sleeves out on the cross-grain), as long as the collar was cut out on the cross-grain. Very cool! I was worried about cutting out the sleeves "sideways" because the pattern would go across the sleeve instead of down (think palm trees growing sideways instead of up and down). So that made me happy. So happy, in fact, that I had to call my mom to tell her that I would be able to use the pretty fabric from three years ago after all! Even though we had talked for three hours the day before, we ended up talking for another hour and didn't get off until I'd cut out all the fabric and we'd booked my flight. (But I'll have to talk about that in a different post. Perhaps it won't be as long as these last two!)

So today I've attached the collar and started pinning the sleeves. Tomorrow I hope to finish the sleeves, which leaves all of Saturday (well, as much time as LB or DH-watching-LB will give me) to put in the buttonholes, buttons, and hem. I think it's doable!

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Wedding

Julie and Scott's wedding was last weekend. It was wonderful!! They put so much thought and effort into planning and organizing it. I'm sure they had help, but it seemed like every detail had been considered. Get this: when we arrived at our hotel, there was a gift basket waiting for us with a selection of local items (candied pecans, blackberry jelly, peach wine), a DVD that was representative of the Deep South (Fried Green Tomatoes), water
bottles with the bride & groom's names and wedding date, a note explaining what was in the basket, and a folder full of brochures for attractions in the area and a schedule of events for the weekend, INCLUDING printed maps/instructions from our hotel to the different venues. Wow. And it was all coordinated: they used the same design & color scheme for their Save-the-Dates, Invitations, the note in the basket, the labels on the water bottles, the bow on the basket, the folder, and the programs at the wedding. Incredible. It was the best job of branding I've ever seen individuals do (you know, branding, like you recognize Coke anywhere because they spend so much money on branding).

The first event was the rehearsal dinner. It was at a very nice restaurant in the downtown area. We were in a private dining area. There were around 50 people at the dinner. It was mostly family and the wedding party, with only a few friends (including us), so we felt very honored to be included. The bride's mom and sister sat at our table, along with one of the groomsmen (who was one of DH's roommates) and one of the bridesmaids, who fell in love with LB. LB behaved admirably throughout the dinner. During the appetizers (which were served buffet style), DH and I refilled his plate with grapes and cheese. He didn't understand why we couldn't get him anymore when they took the appetizers away. He almost lost it, but fortunately the others at the table helped us calm him down. (Oh, dinner was at 6, but we didn't start appetizers til closer to 7, which is LB's bedtime. So we were pushing it a little.) Although "weed salad" is not my favorite (it's supposed to be "gourmet", but I'd rather have romaine or bibb), the salmon was excellent. (I'm not usually a fish lover, but I've been thoroughly enjoying it this pregnancy.) I chose creme brulee for dessert, and it was a little strange. But that's okay. LB ate most of his dinner (which consisted of a side the waitress brought just for him and then whatever appealed to him off mine and DH's plates.) The only time LB really made a scene was right during the groom's father's toast. The gal sitting next to me (the bridesmaid) had given LB a Hall's "candy" to play with. Well, during the toast, he figured out that it could unwrap AND that it was the perfect size to put in his mouth. I had to take it away. He bawled. Right during the speech. It didn't take too long to pacify him with something else though. DH and I left shortly after dessert, since it was long past LB's bedtime. Not before we got to see the bride and groom shower their attendants and mothers and other special individuals with gifts though. They were so generous! I don't know if they got great deals for buying in bulk, or if they've been saving up for this, or if their parents helped, but gave some lovely gifts that night. We were really impressed, again, with how much thought they put into everything.

The next day, LB was up at 7, even though we had had a long day on Saturday. Nevertheless, he was awake and wanted us awake too. DH had a paper he had to work on, so LB and I were on our own until lunch. We decided to go to a park. It was a nice big one, with lots of fun things to do. LB had a ball, and I enjoyed helping him and watching the other people at the playground. It was muggy hot though. Ugh. I don't like muggy hot. At least there was a breeze. We left when a storm rolled in. Got back to the hotel, and by the time we were ready to go get something for lunch, it was POURING. Big, huge raindrops, lots of wind - a sudden, southern thunderstorm. (We've been getting them here too, but they're something completely foreign in CA). We had lunch and then drove around the mall (there are two malls, one indoor and one outdoor. This was at the outdoor one). The maternity store I wanted to go to was closed, it being Sunday and all, but we took advantage of the semi-annual sale at Bath & Body Works to get some of those anti-bacterial moisturizing soaps. (I could probably write a post just about those!). Then we went to the OTHER mall, since it was on the way back to the hotel, and I got to poke through the maternity store there, just real quickly, and then I walked through Sears and found a pair of brown sandals for LB. The ones he has have no traction and he slips and falls on everything. So I was glad to replace those. Then we went back to the hotel to get ready for the evening.

The wedding was scheduled to begin at 5, with seating beginning at 4:30. We got there just > about at 5. Our timing was off because LB had falled asleep on the way back to the hotel and he was out cold. We let him sleep as long as we could and it turned out we let him sleep just a little too long. Oh well. We got there and seated in plenty of time for the ceremony. The American ceremony (what we think of as a traditional ceremony) was held in the courtyard of the historic hotel. There were probably 100 guests or so. The officiant and the groom took their places, then the five groomsmen and the five bridesmaids (all individually), then the bride arrived in an antique car (the courtyard was enclosed on three sides by the hotel and by the street on the 4th). The ceremony was performed in both English and Korean, and wasn't very long. Probably one of the shorter ceremonies many of us had attended. They didn't include any extra elements, and they didn't have customized vows. Then they both got in the antique car and drove away (around the corner, really) while the guests moved inside to the location of the Korean ceremony.

DH and I sat next to one of his fellow BMEs from Tulane (pronounced "beemee", it stands for Biomedical Engineer), so they enjoyed catching up and no one took the three seats next to me, so LB had plenty of room all to himself. Our only complaint was that the Korean ceremony took place on the floor and the guests were all in chairs, so only those in the front could see what was taking place. Oh well. The ceremony lasted about as long as the previous one though we had to wait awhile for it to start because the bride and groom had to change into traditional Korean dress.

After the Korean ceremony we all moved back into the lobby/foyer area for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. LB was fascinated by the cake, although I'm not sure he realized it was food - it was decorated in Nintendo Mario designs and even had Mario figurines (which, we found out later, the groom had had to special order from Korea!). It seemed we were "mingling" and drinking (open bar, don't worry, I didn't have any alcohol!) for a very long time before the bride and groom reappeared (back in tux and white dress) for the first dance. Then it was finally time for dinner. I don't remember what time it was by then, but, again, it was much later than LB normally has to wait for dinner! Fortunately we had brought some crackers that he'd been munching on throughout the evening.

Dinner was buffet style, mostly finger foods, and the plates were barely 6 inches in diameter. Who ever heard of 6 inch dinner plates?? Most people filled two (even 3) plates on their first pass and another one or two on a second pass. The hotel did not have a room big enough to accomodate enough tables for all the guests, so tables were spread out on the balcony, in the lobby and hallway, as well as in the ballroom (which was dominated by the dance floor and live band). DH, LB, and I found ourselves at a little 3-person table in the hallway next to two of the groomsmen (both of whom were DH's roommates at Tulane), and the wife of one of them (or was she his fiancee? We never quite got that straight.) Remember the gal at the rehearsal dinner who fell in love with LB? Well, she wasn't the least bit shy this evening either! She held him and introduced him to who knows who while we went through the buffet line, then brought him back in time to eat. He was so wound up though, that he hardly ate. Too many crackers? Perhaps. I think he mostly had fruit. Then he discovered that he could go UNDER the table and a whole new world of fun opened up. Fortunately (for us), the gal at the next table (wife? fiancee?) came to our rescue. She took LB to go get cake (was feeding him cake a good idea? Perhaps not. Were we thinking these things through? Are you kidding?) So he sat on her lab and she fed him cake, then he tried crawling under HER table. Meanwhile, DH and I enjoyed our dinner, all the while wondering where the irresponsible parents of that wild child were. Didn't they realize their child was CRAWLING UNDER TABLES, for heaven's sake? Tsk, tsk.

Then LB's girlfriend showed back up and asked to take him to the dance floor. Off they went! And DH and I enjoyed cake and conversation. When we finally mosied into the ballroom, we quickly located LB on the dancefloor, dancing away. He loved it! Dancing with someone wasn't his favorite thing, but if one of his (many) partners walked off, he ran over and dragged them back. DH took some videos I'll try to get posted on the video blog soon. So DH and I found a couple of chairs and enjoyed the "show" (are we a couple of old fuddy-duddies or what?).
The gal in the colorful dress is the BME, the gal in black & white is the bridesmaid (aka LB's girlfriend), and the bride is behind the BME, talking to LB. Isn't he cute in his little suit? Here's a view from the front:

By this time many guests had left and most of us who remained had gathered in the ballroom. So the bride and groom did the bouquet and garter tosses, and then we had toasts from the two best men (brothers of the groom, how do you choose one to be "best man" and relegate the other to just "groomsman"?), as well as the maid of honor (bride's sister), and the groom himself (who even incorporated some Korean in his speech. We were very impressed). Shortly after that it was time to go. We all gathered in the courtyard with sparklers and the bride and groom got back in the antique car and drove away (around the corner). Then we went back to the hotel.

On the way back to the hotel, LB fell SOUND asleep. Nothing could wake him up. We changed his diaper and put him in pj's and he hardly moved. The next day we were sad to be leaving. You know how it is: you anticipate an event for so long, it finally arrives and it's fun, and then it's over too quickly it seems. So we took our time packing up, drove by one of the city's attractions, and made a detour to another city in the state where DH is applying for a job.

It was such a short vacation, that I didn't have that "I'm glad to be home again!" feeling, lol. We were only gone 2 1/2 days, and it wasn't a very long drive to get there. We've been enjoying talking about everything over and over, analyzing this and that, remembering different details (the third stage of enjoying an event), etc. Writing this post was a fun way to relive the weekend, though I glossed over some details so it wouldn't be TOO long! Thanks for bearing with me :)

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