Sunday, December 28, 2008

Baby Shower!

My two beautiful sisters, Meredith and Megan, threw me the most wonderful baby shower yesterday! I got to visit with so many people I hadn't seen in so long and had the best time! And there were cute little baby things spread all over the living room when we were done - just got me so excited to change the baby's outfit 10 times a day! 

The shower was at my parent's house in McKinney, Texas, which was all dolled up for Christmas. Before the shower, I went and enjoyed a prenatal massage, which my family had gotten me for Christmas. It was so heavenly!!! I felt all relaxed and beautiful before the shower, which is a tall order these days. Here I am with the hostesses and my mom (also known as the fourth sister) right before the shower:
Two of my cousins made the shower as well - Jason who lives in Dallas and Kim, who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico! Kim and my Aunt Judy, who had been in El Paso with my Nana for Christmas, flew in the night before the shower and it meant so much to have them there. I am blessed to have such a loving family. 
Brad's grandmother, Nanny, was in town for Christmas from Fayetteville, Arkansas visiting Aunt Mary Alice and Uncle Doug (not pictured - probably watching football!). We were so happy they could come and luckily I didn't completely block Nanny out of the picture with my ginormous belly!! Mary Alice brought me the cutest gift - this big wine goblet, painted with the words 'Mommy's Sippy Cup'. Heck yeah!! I think that belongs in my bag that's going to the hospital!
I don't mean to brag, but can we talk about how fabulous my dress is? After weeks of frustrating shopping trying to find something cute to wear at an event I knew there would a paparazzi level of photography going on, I finally found this adorable dress on Friday. I should have known to just wait and go shopping with my mom, who is like the Mall Whisperer. The cutest clothes and accessories just want to be found at deeply discounted prices when she enters the store. We went to Japanese Weekend, a maternity boutique that only has 4 stores in the whole U.S. and one of them happens to be about 15 minutes from my parent's house. The clearance rack was beckoning when we walked in, with many items screaming 'pick me! pick me!'. I found a couple of dresses and this particular one was 83% off. I just pulled up the calculator and checked. Moral of the story: if you get a chance to shop with my mother, do it! 

Here is my favorite pic of myself, as the angle makes me look slightly less large. There were a couple of pics of me and Brad, where he looked all svelte and handsome and I look large enough that maybe I could swallow him whole if I wanted to. So yeah, not posting those. 
All in all, it was an awesome time and a really memorable day. Thanks Mer and Meg and Mom and Dad for such a fun visit and an awesome shower!! I love you!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

We are having an awesome Christmas here in McKinney, Texas! Brad and I flew in Tuesday night to spend the holiday with my parents and sisters. We spent Christmas Eve getting pedicures, accidentally showing up at church an hour early and eating yummy lasagna. The Crains have some Christmas Eve traditions that include new ornaments and pajamas. My mom found me these awesome lavender maternity/nursing pj's from Japanese Weekend, which she almost gave to me a night early because the ones I wore on Tuesday night were so hideously ugly she said. LOL

My sweet family also found me lots of comfy nursing clothes for after the baby comes and the baby got his first stocking! It was full of little goodies like socks, bibs, toys and a Beatles lullaby CD. Brad got some of his very favorite beer, Alaskan Amber, which has to be shipped from the Northwest, from my sisters and I think that will be cracked open later today!

Now we're lazing around watching Christmas movies while my dad smokes meat on the smoker in shorts and a t-shirt - his ultimate dream come true since moving from Indiana. We're having all of our favorite Christmas foods like Monkey Bread, migas, good potatoes and blueberry banana cream pie. Yum! Megan was sweet and got me some sparkling apple cider to make mock mimosas too. So sweet.

We took a bunch of pics before the Christmas Eve service and this is Brad, sizing up the goods. 

Tomorrow starts my 32nd week and the baby is the size of 4 navel oranges. Finding a pic of exactly 4 oranges grouped together is almost impossible. I think they must have left the interns in charge over at Baby Center again.

Well I hope everyone is having an awesome Christmas, good food and lots of fun. If you're short on fun, remember the online after-Christmas sales have already started!

Monday, December 22, 2008

I am a beached whale

And I have a distinctive waddle. 

I've been trying to go shopping lately and it's been very, very depressing. This is a recent occurrence - maternity shopping was a blast as recently as 3 weeks ago and I had to stop myself by remembering I only need clothes for a couple more months. I've been trying to find a couple of cute outfits to wear to my showers so when I look back at the pictures I can say yeah, some whale-like qualities, but what a cute dress! Now I think I'll just try to take pictures of everyone else.  But realistically there's no WAY Colleen's going to let me get away with that!

I went to the two trendy maternity boutiques in town thinking for sure they would have something - anything - that would be flattering. I'll throw some money at the problem if I have to and problem solved, right? Not so much. I find a cute dress or tunic, put it on, looks ok from the front and then turn to the side and that's when the whale beaches itself. Anything that simultaneously hugs the belly and the kaboose (which is really the only fair name for it right now) goes immediately back on the hanger. Tunics are completely out of the question because my legs are giant tree trunks so any slimming qualities they might have once had are negated.

9 1/2 weeks to go (and not the exciting mickey rourke kind) and all this waddling whale wants is a good pair of yoga pants. Seems too early to be waving the white flag on maternity fashion, but I'm pretty sure I'm too tired to care. 

The sponsor of this whale, Baby Spooner, has grown to the size of cabbage, which in all honesty is healthier then anything I feel like eating lately. That may explain my dilemma. 

Well I'd better get back to packing my small assortment of clothes I don't feel like wearing for our trip to Dallas for Christmas. Still takes me two hours to pack, even with limited selection, compared to the 5 minutes Brad just spent. And the sleeping poodles laying on my bed just makes me want to curl up and go to sleep. The one sport I'm good at lately - especially now that I'm done reading the Twilight books. =)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holy Baby Belly Batman!

I've been meaning to take a bump pic for about 3 weeks after I realized my last one was at 25 weeks. But then I got busy, we went out of town for Thanksgiving, I thought my camera broke, etc. Brad figured out the camera thing in 5 minutes and so I had him take these pictures at 30(and a half!) weeks in front of our Christmas tree. Of course Zoe had to jump in and be a part of it - that is why she is the princess. I have definitely gotten bigger since that 25 week picture. I've gone from house to subdivision. 

A few short weeks ago I was taking everything for granted, working the cute bump, enjoying the maternity clothes, taking long walks, saying things like I feel great!  All of the sudden everything is an effort. Sitting up, for instance. Rolling over in the middle of the night. Getting in and out of my car. Making sense when I talk. Remembering things for 5 minutes. Convincing myself some of these maternity tops still fit. Telling people who comment that actually, I am not due this month, I have 2 months to go while sounding like I don't mind they just said that.

I had a doctor appointment on Tuesday, which was fairly uneventful - in a good way. My weight gain has slowed down some, which makes sense because I'm really not as hungry anymore.  I go back for another appointment right before New Year's. I mean, I have various pregnancy symptoms I whine about to Dr. D (who probably hears them 10 times a day, but is very nice not to let on so my heartburn can be 'special'). But in the grand scheme of things they aren't so bad - just tiresome. When I'm feeling really grouchy about being uncomfortable I think of that line Steve Martin has in Father of the Bride right after his daughter's wedding is over - They tell me I'll look back on this one day with great affection and nostalgia. I hope so.

Anyways, the baby is about 3 pounds by now and 15 inches long, which is about the size of my favorite squash!! The butternut!! Which contains neither butter, nor nuts - discuss. It's one of the 5 vegetables I can get Brad to eat (green beans, salad greens, sweet potatoes, corn):

Ok, so am I the only one or does it feel like preparing for Christmas just beats the Christmas spirit right out of you? Shopping, cooking, wrapping, ordering, planning... all on top of working and regular life. If I cry Uncle can I stop now? Homegirl here needs a nap! I've only got 2 months to nap! The Christmas season is also really interfering with my addiction to the Twilight series. I'm on the 4th book, which is awesome so far and making very slow progress due to my current campaign for Elf of the Year. If 'number of ginger cookies baked' is a criteria, I have this thing wrapped up. Pun intended!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My Week

What a sad week. It was really hard on everyone at work, just trying to accept the news about Dwayne and support each other. I came home every night exhausted and it was gray and rainy almost every day - hard to concentrate on work or really get much done. Unfortunately, part of what has to be done is to take over the things Dwayne was working on. Seeing emails he just sent, completing projects he hadn't finished yet and making sure people he worked with in other areas of the company knew are not easy tasks. It's what he would have wanted though - he was fanatical about making sure everything got completed on time and even had a hard time taking vacation without worrying if everything was running smoothly without him. So I certainly can't let the ball drop on anything for him.

Dwayne's funeral was Friday and it was a beautiful service. The sun had finally come out and there were lots of good stories and memories exchanged between his friends. I spoke to his mom and sister after the service and they are of course heartbroken. There is very little to comfort them right now in their continued state of shock. I drove some of my friends from work to the service and back - it was an hour and a half away, towards Dwayne's home town of Deltaville. Kristen had made a CD in honor of him that was a mix of things that made me want to laugh and cry. So we skipped over Freebird and played Drop it Like its Hot more then once. How do you not smile remembering someone dropping it at work??

Brad and I also went to a couple of baby classes last week in the evening. Or as I like to call them 'Babies for Dummies'. This week there were videos and slide shows to give that visual je ne sais quoi to the class experience. Especially the breastfeeding video - wowzers! The lady teaching that class started things off telling us she breastfed her second child for 3 1/2 year and planned to go at least that long for her youngest who is almost 3. The lady in front of me turned towards her husband and gave him the 'She did NOT just say that' look. I'm kind of with her - that's a really long time!!

I have an appointment with Dr. D on Tuesday morning - I am a little over 30 weeks! My next ultrasound isn't until 36 weeks I think, which I bet is really exciting because the baby will be so big! He is about 3 pounds right now and 15 inches long. He moves and wiggles all the time and when I feel around my tummy I can usually find his cute little tushie stickin' out somewhere. 

It is also Christmas party week at work - my team will have a get together on Tuesday afternoon with a white elephant gift exchange and our department event is Wednesday. We put together care packages for the elderly and bikes for kids and have some sort of entertainment. I need to get all my little homemade gifts ready for everyone over the next couple of nights because they have to be delivered by Thursday or Friday at the very latest. A lot of people take the last 2 weeks of the year off. 

So that's what's going on with me. While pregnancy hormones and life itself have been slapping me around quite a bit lately, I know there's a lot of hope to be found in both Christmas and the little muchkin we have on the way. So I'm going to hang on to that and know 2009 is going to be awesome.

Monday, December 8, 2008

In Memory of Dwayne

I lost a good friend from work today. I met Dwayne when I was interviewing at Capital One and have worked with him on the same team the entire time I was there. He had worked there 13 years and was loved by so many people. We had so much fun together and he always made me laugh. He was the type of person who always had your back, gave you his honest opinion and would do anything to help you out. He was about to move to Dallas for work at the beginning of the year. He had always wanted to live outside of Virginia and have some great adventures, try some new places out. He was anxious about leaving, though. I told him my parents were going to adopt him so he didn't have to be homesick and how he was going to love my dad's barbeque. He has a dog that was like his kid, a black lab named Jager. His whole plan to move was designed around making sure Jager was ok and didn't get too scared with all the changes. Such a wonderful, caring person and too young to lose him. 

I think I must still be in shock because I can't fathom not seeing him anymore. I see him every day. He sits by me and makes fun of me about stuff and we post things on each other's Facebook pages. We go to lunch and happy hour and meetings together.  How can he just quit showing up? I keep thinking as I write this that maybe he isn't really gone and boy is he going to be ticked when he sees his picture on my blog. That would have embarrassed him. 

One thing is for certain - there are a lot of broken hearted people in Virginia tonight. Dwayne, we're all going to miss you terribly, more then you could have ever realized when you were here. Actually more then any of us probably realize yet. I'm grateful for the time I got with you, but just incredibly sad there was not more of it. 

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sick Twilight Obsession

UPDATE: Brad read this and said I failed to describe how I am keeping him up late at night while I read these books. Sigh. Edward would never complain about such a thing.

I've been bitten. By a book series for teenagers. It's really pathetic. You know, I had heard of the Twilight book series a long time ago and wrote it off, even telling a friend, nah I don't think those are for me. Now I hear people say that and I laugh. Oh silly, silly girl.

Clare and I were at TJ Maxx a while back and they had all the books marked down really cheap so we said what the heck, let's give them a read, see what the big deal is. This was around the same time my friend at work Leslie was dragging herself into the office each morning with bags under her eyes because she couldn't bear to put down the books to sleep at night. I even caught her sneaking a read under her desk one day! That is now me. I couldn't even wait patiently for Clare to finish the second book - I had to borrow Leslie's copies and now I'm halfway through the third and plan to also read the unpublished and unfinished version of the first book from the vampire's point of view that's on the author's web site. I can already tell that when I am all finished and there is no more to read that I am going to feel sad. That happened to me with Harry Potter. It was just so disappointing there wasn't going to be any more time with the characters to enjoy! Like a sort of mourning. And the movies are no consolation. I hear the Twilight movie is not so great (and none of the Harry Potters were either) and it's just not the same as being wrapped up in a book.

Sick, sick, sick.  But hey, I know when I go into work tomorrow Leslie will be asking me which part I'm on and we can act half our age gushing about all of it. And then send each other a bunch of Twilight related flair on Facebook. Pathetic! Oh well, it's keeping me occupied during the third trimester, so I guess that's something. But I really really need a recommendation for something of a page-turning nature to read after - anyone have any ideas? I've got 11 weeks of pregnancy to kill people and I'm obsessed with a teenage vampire love story. Help me!

Santa Baby!

It's gotten all Christmas-y around here! I've been decorating the house, coercing Brad to help me where I can, playing Christmas music, enjoying fires in the fireplace and it even snowed some last night! I do have to admit, I face decorating the Christmas tree with a certain amount of dread, but after it's up, I just love it. The house feels all cozy and it's been so cold here - a very nice winter so far. 

I was going to take a very seasonal cute picture of the wreath on my front door to decorate this blog entry, but then my camera stopped working! Just out of nowhere! Oh well, it was 5 years old - about the most you can expect from any electronic device these days. It was a gift from Brad for our first Christmas together after we got married. =) Anyways....

We've had a pretty fun weekend. Friday night was pretty blah though - by the end of the week I am usually done for and just need to go to bed early. Saturday we nursery shopped a little and took care of things around the house. Saturday night was our neighbor Jason's birthday and we went over to their house for a party, which was very fun. Baby O saw us and said Yi Yo! Yi Yo! I guess Brad, Zoe, Ringo and I have one collective name now! Clare came over after her tennis tournament and helped me decorate the Christmas tree and spent the night. We met up with Art and Sue for breakfast this morning at Baker's Crust and then did some more stuff around the house. Our friends Karen and Mike came over for dinner tonight and we had a great time! They have a cute little four month old baby boy who stayed home with a sitter as we plied Mom and Dad with wine and lasagna. Now we have the remnants of a fire and the Christmas music on - nice relaxing way to wrap up the weekend. 

Last night at our neighbor's party I was talking to someone and realized that there are just 2 weekends left after this before Christmas. Yikes. Per Usual, even though I started Christmas shopping in October, here we are at the last minute with gobs left to do. As a special gift to myself, I have left the more difficult people to shop for last. But just 2 and a half more weeks until we are in Dallas - I just knew December would fly by - and after the holidays we have less then 2 months before the baby gets here!!!

In other news, Brad already has the dresser put together in the nursery. It looks so good! I need to finish up the impossible changing table painting project and get it up there. Crib arrives in January and I think the chair will too. Speaking of the chair - I just noticed that the name of the model we're getting is Braxton. As in Braxton-Hicks contractions. Who on earth would name a chair sold in baby stores the Braxton?? It was a tough choice between that chair and the the Heartburn. 

Oh Yeah! Baby = Chinese cabbage. You've never felt a chinese cabbage boogie like this though! There is always some sort action going on in the baby belly. We are breakin' it down right now.

Well I'd write more, but I really have to go read some more of Twilight now. =)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

State of the Uterus - Week 28

I had an attack of the pregnancy stupids yesterday and went to my appointment a day early. Dr. D isn't even there on Mondays! It wouldn't have been a big deal at all, but I had already downed the orange glucose liquid for my test. The orange drink wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be! Just a touch of carbonation made all the difference! So anyways, I waited in the waiting room with the most recent Better Homes & Gardens and then they took my blood and I passed - which I celebrated by eating 2 pop tarts! And then I went back this morning for my actual doctor appointment.

The visit was fairly routine, but I would say the highlight was having Dr. D tell me what position the baby is in so I can tell whethere it's a hand or foot or what. She told me the baby is very low and is head down facing my tailbone. His little behind is pushing out a bit to the left of my belly button and she said when I feel movement on both sides of my tummy it is probably him arching his back and his little shoulders and behind pressing simultaneously on my tummy.

We also listened to his heartbeat, beautiful as ever, talked about pediatricians and of course I had to get weighed. Sigh. I hate that scale. Another 7 pounds this month. The doctor said she's happy with my weight gain and not to worry. But I am really starting to feel like a cow. I'm measuring at 28 weeks so my cow-ness is not related to the baby being big or growing to arrive early or anything. Just puuuuuuure cow-ness. Moo.

On that note, you have reached the 'It's My Blog and I'll Whine if I Want To' portion of this posting. If you are currently living in a no whining zone, you may want to skip the next couple of paragraphs.

Ok, so I went to the dentist before I went a day early to my doctor appointment and can I just say OUCH???? Oh. My. Gosh. If I knew it was going to hurt that bad I would have cancelled the appointment and said see you next spring. I guess my gums are all sensitive and she's scraping and cleaning and I'm wincing and gripping the arms of the chair and thinking of all variety and combination of profanity. It was that kind of hurt that makes your eyes water. She kept saying well if you flossed every day it wouldn't hurt this bad. And I kept thinking look lady, I am not adding any activity to my life that will make it MORE uncomfortable at this point so let it go. She also told this really long story about her daughter trying to find an after school babysitter on Craig's List and how 2 out of the 3 final candidates ended up having criminal charges that came up on the background check. But that Craig's list is such an awesome place to find child care. Ummm, sure.

My other topic of whining is my back. Oh my aching back! Upper back, lower back, whatever - it hurts. I was up for 2 hours last night because of shooting pain down my hip. Sitting in my chair at work all day is no fun. Don't even get me started on flying in a plane. Or days when I'm on my feet all day. So it hurts and my sleep is no good and then I feel icky the whole next day. Like today for instance - my ick factor is a solid 8 out of 10. Kind of feel a sore throat coming on and all achy and such.

Ok that's all my whining. Next doctor appointment is December 16, which I am writing here so I don't go on the 15th!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Baby Update - Week 28

I am fast approaching my 3rd trimester and I can't believe it! I think maybe the bump's gotten a little bit bigger but the biggest recent change to me is how I can feel little baby parts sticking out through my tummy! I can't tell what they are, but I think there was a little elbow or knee poking out by my belly button a couple of days ago. I kind of rubbed on it and the baby pulled it back in real quick. My stomach dropped and I thought was Oh my gosh! Did I break the baby?? Irrational hormonal panic instinct still firmly in place. I'm going to ask the doctor if she can tell how the baby is situated inside me so maybe I can decipher hand from foot from head from tushie. 

I've felt really good lately, though after a couple of months of happily stuffing myself silly after the morning sickness ended, I am running out of digestive tract real estate and can't eat as much. That doesn't mean I don't eat as much - it just means I pretty much feel too full after every meal. Hopefully my brain and stomach will sync up soon. I've also had some upper back pain, probably from my scoliosis. It really only got to me on the airplane flying to Arkansas and back for the holiday. I have one plane trip left before my due date, to Dallas at Christmas, and we are flying direct so I think I can swing it. And once I get there, I know my Mom will be taking very good care of me - isn't being taken care of by your mom the best??

I have an appointment with my OB on Monday morning where I am going to do my gestational diabetes test. Other then that it should be pretty routine. I start going every 2 weeks after that, which makes me realize how close we are to actually having this baby! Brad and I are going to take the Baby Basics class this week at the hospital and take a tour next weekend. I'm a little nervous - I think it's been more then a decade since I've changed a diaper. Brad just gave me a blank look when I asked when the last time he had changed a diaper was. We're also still trying to line up different babysitter options and get on waiting lists and such. Next to-do is to meet with some pediatricians and select one. 

I think that's it for updates. I wish I could provide an update on the nursery, but I can't (hint, hint Brad). The Ikea dresser is in a million parts on the floor, which I state in a completely factual manner and not in a nagging, I sure do wish it was put together already kind of way. =) I guess I can be pretty direct about it though after finding out this morning, as I was getting close to making a final call on crib bedding, that Brad would really prefer something with elephants. I'm not sure why, he just seems drawn to elephants, giraffes and monkeys. It IS a zoo around here! har har har....

Baby Center must have left the interns in charge this week as the only solid food visualization I got for the baby was that it weighs the same as a head of cauliflower. So helpful. I did pick one up at Kroger earlier and give it some thought. I hate eating cauliflower though so I put it back down afterwards. I thought this pic was way cuter then a whole head of cauliflower - sheep! I love food art. 

This one was cute too, but no baby significance here - 

Thanksgiving Trip!

We just got back late last night from Little Rock and Stuttgart, where we celebrated Thanksgiving with Brad's mom's side of the family. We had a great time and there are pictures, but of course I slacked off and wasn't the person who took the pictures. I have GOT to get better at that, or there will be 5 pictures of the baby to represent his entire first year of life. Anyways, to explain the picture, duck hunting is huge in Stuttgart and during the week of Thanksgiving there are all sorts of duck-related events and lots of people are in town to hunt. A lot of people in Brad's family spend the week hunting on their land. I've always thought Zoe would have been a natural duck retriever if we'd trained her - she's very driven to retrieve and loves to chase birds. . Ringo would be beyond useless in that capacity. Poodles were originally bred in Germany to retrieve ducks and some people in the U.S. use them for that now. So the picture is an homage to my little coulda-been duck retriever, Zoe. Sorry your parents are slackers and you've missed your true calling.

Back to the trip - when we got in town late Monday night, we stayed with our very good friends Brent and Melissa, who we went to Italy with last April. They just bought an adorable new house in the Heights section of Little Rock and are busy painting and decorating. It's an older house and it has lots of character - I just loved it! They took us to dinner Tuesday night at this fun restaurant ZaZa that had pizzas cooked in a big wood fire oven, salads and gelato. We then hit a wine bar in the River Market called Crush, where oddly there was this large painting of the coastal town we stayed in in Italy. Ironic! Uncle Brent and Aunt Melissa gave the baby a very cute frog book that is part stuffed animal, part story, a very sweet blue teddy bear and cute little blue footed sleeper - adorable!

We spent Wednesday, Thursday and Friday visiting with family and there were almost 25 people at Brad's grandmother's house for Thanksgiving dinner! I was excited because I got to meet Nicole, newly engaged to cousin Ben as of last weekend! Lots of fun wedding talk and in addition to wine, she loves reading Perez Hilton, so she's my kind of girl. There was also so much yummy food! Turkey, ham, casseroles, homemade rolls and about 10 desserts. There was a huge pan of hot cinnamon rolls just out of the oven and that proved to be one of the most appealing desserts! I think it was meant for breakfast, but when face to face with a warm cinnamon roll a logical person only does one thing. We topped off the visit Friday afternoon watching the Arkansas game with Uncle Greg, Aunt Janet, cousin Meredith and the cutest little goldendoodle that ever was - Winnie! Fun times and the Hogs won too!

We got back very late last night and I don't think either of us has recovered yet. There was a mixup with the dog walker and she showed up bright and early to walk the dogs - I think we gave each other a heart attack! The dogs were beside themselves with excitement and after she left - running around like 'our friend! our friend came to visit us again - did you see that??' The rest of the day we did things around the house and I made this pork cassoulet recipe I found on It was good but a little greasy - pork spare ribs are pretty fatty. We have a fire and some football tonight. Tomorrow I hope to get the rest of the Christmas decorating done after sleeping in! 

All in all, it's been a good holiday with lots to be thankful for - an awesome husband, wonderful family and friends, beautiful healthy baby on the way and poodles who do their best to make up for how bad they are! Happy Thanksgiving!

Airport Observations

Brad and I just got home from our week in Little Rock and Stuttgart, which I'll write about in a bit. We were blessed this Thanksgiving holiday with 4 on time flights and a reasonably quick parking shuttle bus. With the way the airlines have been operating, 4 on time flights is probably Thanksgiving-dinner-table-prayer-worthy.

We had layovers in both directions in Charlotte, where I pretty much people watched the whole time. Don't you love people watching? My people watching falls into a few categories - wondering where people are going, what they are like and why on earth they are wearing that. A quality time killer when the book gets stale. I also made it all the way through Twilight and started another cheesy book I'm too ashamed to admit in public that I'm reading. Yeah, exactly - a cheesy book even more shameful then Twilight. I am not ashamed to say, however, that I am ready to fall in love with a hot vampire now.  Anyone with me???

I had some experiences and observations during the trip down and back, the first of which was enough to make me really question the person who said half the fun is in getting there. So here they are, in order of perceived threat level:
  • Attack of the Crazy Singing Man: The first was in the seat behind me between Charlotte and Little Rock, who smelled drunk (my nose is so on top of things these days!) and thinks he is some white BB King protege just singin' the blues so the whole plane could hear. Papa was a Rollin' Stone over and over and over and over. I really felt bad for his seatmate and I think everyone around him wished we were all closer to the screaming baby in row 3 who was the only passenger with a hope of drowning him out. Second crazy singing man was in the Little Rock airport with his guitar, stopping for impromptu shows. Lucky me, he sees the baby belly and yells out asking when I'm due. I say February and he says Awesome! That's when I got married! Um, huhhhh????
  • Attack of the winning football team: We as a nation are quite fortunate no terrorists attempted to evade security at the Little Rock National Airport at the same time we were going through. That was the moment Arkansas scored in the 4th quarter and pulled ahead of LSU by 1 point. TSA security was all abuzz and really couldn't be bothered to hassle me over whether lip gloss is a liquid. 
  • Attack of the leggings: As a public service announcement, I need to make sure all the ladies out there realize that leggings are not an alternate species of The Pant. They are not meant to be a substitute for The Pant, so please do not tuck your shirt in and leave everything else to jiggle unchecked as you walk to your terminal. You really need to be a special kind of celebrity anorexic to pull off wearing them with anything less coverage oriented then a tunic. So let's do the hindquarters a favor and provide a little draping, mmmmkay????
  • Attack of the Cinnamon Roll: During the layovers in both directions we picked up dinner. What I really wanted both times was a Cinnabon! Brad did not want me to have that. Something along the lines of 'that's not a healthy dinner for the baby'. HELLO?!?!? Who do you think is placing the order?!?!? Non-pregnant Kara hasn't touched a Cinnabon in years, ever since they released the nutritional information. Bebe loves him some cinnamon sugar and icing - who are we to question that?
  • Attack of the summer clothing: I suppose this is another public service announcement. It is almost December. Thanksgiving is over, the holidays are upon us and if you live anywhere experiencing daily high temps under 70, let me explain what this means for your wardrobe: it is time put away the flip flops (I know, collective groan), Crocs (ugh - permanently), shorts of any kind, and white cotton pants (especially capris and even if they are embroidered in a Lilly-esque pattern, they are wrong now). I saw a ton of people wearing these, especially the flip flops and not all of them could have been coming home from a beach vacation. Heck I ran into someone from last year's dodgeball team coming home from Orlando and she looked season appropriate! So it is possible.  
Well two snarky public service announcements and some pining over 800 calorie cinnamon rolls are probably all I can contribute tonight before going to bed. I will write about the trip tomorrow! 

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lazy Sunday

It is almost 2pm and I am still in my jammies. Oh happy day! We are leaving tomorrow night after work for Little Rock for Thanksgiving and I spent all last week in New York for work, so I feel justified in being lazy for an entire weekend. We did run some errands - got my MacBook fixed and made some returns. Last night we ordered pizza, made s'mores and watched football with our neighbors. Baby O came to see the poodles, but she is sick, so not really up to having Zoe steal every single wheat thin she tries to eat.  We've gotten a little lax in our training with Zoe and you can really tell. She wasn't listening to either one of us. We've got to get back on the wagon.

Today we are just packing, doing laundry and watching football. I think I'm going to walk the poodles here in a little while and then run to the store and drug store. It is COLD here in Richmond! Brad had his last soccer game of the season at 9am and it was 23 degrees when he left the house. Brrrrr. I'm making some Fiesta Red Snapper tonight, which I've made before and it's delicious and very easy. 

I'm trying to convince Brad we need a fire to go with our dinner, but I don't think he wants to mess with it. We started to install a gas line so we could have a gas fireplace and use it more often, but haven't turned it on or gotten the logs or anything. There's just something about wood burning that seems like more of a hassle with cleaning up the ashes and making sure it's out before we go to bed. But it really does make the place feel so homey. Next weekend I'm going to decorate the house for Christmas and if it's cold again, I will just HAVE to have a fire! Christmas music, the tree, wreaths, decorating the mantle and hanging stockings. We're not even having Christmas here this year, but having the house decorated makes me feel so happy. 

It must be foodie week at Baby Center because the baby is now the length of an English hothouse cucumber. Yes, it must be That Specific Cucumber or the comparison won't work. Please do not call this child a pickling cucumber or a gerkin or anything - it just won't do his growth justice.
I have another doctor's appointment right after Thanksgiving, where I do the glucose test to see if I have gestational diabetes. I have to drink this nasty orange stuff that is chilling in my fridge and then they take blood when I get there. After that appointment I start going to the doctor every 2 weeks. I'm excited about that! Means we are getting close! It's also a little scary because the nursery is not at all ready and USA Baby (grrrrrrrr) called to tell us the crib won't be here until January.  So like all other major events in my life, I will plan for months ad nauseam only to have a rush of things to do at the last stressful minute. Hey I guess that makes me consistent!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Registry Musings

True to a couple of posts ago, I did end up registering this week. For reasons I won't go into, Kristen and I weren't able to go on Tuesday and so I did a bunch of my registering online with my trusty Baby Bargains book while in my PJ's. So I haven't actually set foot in BabysrUs yet. I consider it registry telecommuting! 

I have to say, I would be lost without the Baby Bargains book. I don't know why I believe everything they say, but it is like my woobie; a security blanket in a sea of scary baby items. Much of what I picked was based on that book. Except for the little beanie hat that has 'Rock Star' on it - that was purely self-indulgent. 

Some observations:
  • The entire Fisher Price rain forest collection is highly rated throughout the Baby Bargains book. So why does it have to be so obnoxiously, brightly, cringe-inducingly colored? I have read reviews online by so many parents who tried to buy an aesthetically pleasing swing, high chair, etc. - and all their child wants is the equivalent item in the Fisher Price rain forest line.
  • Brad and I are losers who find a hip stroller completely awesome. It was really the only item I could get him into. I wish I could say we are above all that and totally practical parents with a firm grip on reality, but we are not. Which means our kid will want the Fisher Price rain forest stroller. 
  • Mobiles seem all sweet and innocent until you realize what song you're going to be listening to over and over and over and over and over again. Upon that realization, the cuteness factor becomes secondary to music that won't make you go crazy. 
  • Hands down, the best product name: the My Breast Friend nursing pillow. I've been saying it non-stop because it's so hilarious. Try it in a sentence! Few items screamed out at me as a must-have like that one did. 
  • Right after I caught on that the only reason a particular item cost so much was because it was labeled 'baby', I would find the 'organic' version of the product, which was twice as much. It's the next evolution of guilting soon-to-be parents into 'buying the best for their child'. How can you not go organic?? All those chemicals! Bad Parent! Bad!
Speaking of bad, I did end up finding a completely ridiculous baby offering - not sure if this will end up being the winner of that designation in the end, but it will definitely be in the top 5. The WhyCry Baby Crying Analyzer priced at $99 at Target. It boasts the ability to help new parents distinguish between the 5 types of crying - hungry, bored, tired, stressed and annoyed (seriously? annoyed? like 'i can tell mom and dad just cheaped out on the new diapers and this is SO not working for me' kind of annoyed?).  I don't know who these people think they are, but it is a horribly mean thing to take advantage of sleep deprived, desperate people who want only to make their offspring happy - and charge them a hundred bucks in the process. I hope whoever created it enjoys hell. If Dante was right, they will be on nursery duty.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Spooner Tails - November 16

Wow what a week. We'll just leave it at that. We are having a very low key weekend after several busy ones and it's been really nice. I have to Monday morning for a full week in New York for work, so the down time has been awesome. We've cooked dinners in, watched tv, done some stuff around the house and worked out. I've had some insomnia lately, which stinks, but I hear it is mother nature's way (in all her heartlessness) of preparing a soon-to-be mommy to be up during the night. I've had trouble sleeping long before getting pregnant - any time I'm anxious about anything, I'm up. Frankly when I'm up and it's dark and there's not much to read on the internet, I find myself thinking how nice it will be to have the company. A partner in insomnia! 

We started looking at daycare options this week, which is probably way overdue. Brad visited one place, Skipwith Academy, on Friday and we're going to go ahead and get on the waiting list there. This week we're checking out Westminster Canterbury and a few in-home sitters. One thing that is interesting about both day care facilities is that they are adjacent to assisted living centers and have programs where the children interact with the elderly residents. Apparently Halloween at Skipwith is quite a production! Anyways, I think that's neat. I'm still trying to decide which option - day care or in-home - I feel more comfortable with. I'm sure I'm going to be such a hormonal mess at that point that no option is going to feel very good. 

As for the baby size update - I think Baby Center is just messing with me now, trying to see if the pregnancy stupids have set in (they have, but I do have above average reading retention skills). This week, my 26th, they are back to comparing the baby to a rutabaga. Now the baby weighs the same as a rutabaga - not to be confused with being as big as one. I had to google rutabaga just to remember what one looked like the first time around and I have absolutely no clue what one weighs. Sadly I only know what I weigh and that not a fun number! 

I read another newsletter earlier in the week (I'm cheating on Baby Center) and it said my uterus is the size of a soccer ball. Now that's some fun trivia! After I read that, I leaned over and told my project manager in the middle of a very serious meeting. She looked impressed. And it had to be the soccer ball thing, because there really wasn't much impressive going on in the meeting. Brad's been playing soccer on a league every Sunday, so as I type this, he is kicking around an object as big as my uterus. While his child continues to kick my bladder. =)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bump Watch 2008 - Week 25

Is it me or did I get a lot bigger? I feel bigger. I've also noticed that people are proportionally nicer to me and more accomodating as I get bigger and it's been non-stop nice lately. Which is awesome - I love nice!

Brad took this picture at Art & Sue's this past weekend when we were there for their annual holiday party. I had just finished rolling out about 100 sausage balls and adding extra frosting to the cupcakes (we all gain weight together), so probably not the best time to take a picture. Should have waited until I was all gussied up for the party, with clean hair and everything. Oh well, if I don't pace myself with pictures in my One Nice Maternity Dress (compliments of Karen), my blog is going to look like that is all I wore during my pregnancy. I already have it up in the post when we went out for our anniversary. 

Tomorrow I brave BabysRUs (is that how you spell it? it looks wrong how I did it. Does that make me a bad parent?) with my friend Kristen to register. That store intimidates me - it is always crowded and is just wall to wall, floor to ceiling baby crap. Plastic-y, headache-inducing, brightly colored baby crap. All necessary, of course, for one reason or another. And shopped for by parents who look so tired it scares me. Brad is getting out of this phase of registry - it is my gift to him! He already has to put together the Ikea dresser and the crib after all. 

There are periods of time (like as I type this) when this baby is kicking when I think maybe he already wants out. It is wild, multi-limb movement for a half hour or so. While it is adorable and endearing now, I can't help but think oh crap, what is this going to feel like in 2 months??  At 4 in the morning? When he really gets going, I feel like singing Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting... Those cats were fast as lightening... Maybe I'll just sing here in a couple of months at 4am - that way Brad can enjoy it too! I have a lovely singing voice. 

Ok, I am clearly tired. I better get some rest so I can face the Mega Baby Marketing Machine tomorrow and not get obsessed with all things material and baby. I only had moderate luck 7 years ago staring down the Mega Wedding Marketing Machine, so I'm hoping to improve my record. I'm going to keep my eye out for the Most Ridiculous Baby-related Item when I'm there and I'll report back. It may become a list...

Oh and here's a gratuitous pic of my baby daddy. He's watching football and I'm figuring out why the flash won't work. Let's cross our fingers the baby gets those eyes - doncha think???

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Spooner Tails -November 9

Brad and I are being the ultimate lazy slobs today, which feels so wonderful! Recent recap of our fairly tame pre-baby lives:
  • We got back today from a quick trip to Williamsburg for Art and Sue's annual holiday party last night. This one was in honor of Brad's brother Bill and his wife Christina, who got married in May. The party was really fun, lots of good food, a little rowdiness and it didn't wind down until late, which is probably why we are so beat today.  And when I say rowdy, I mean the discussion that started with  jello wrestling and the like and trended downward. You know who you are.
  • In less exciting news, the mango jalapeno chutney I made turned out really well and was yummy with the pork tenderloin they served. I think I'm going to make a bunch more to give to people during the holidays. If you get some, act totally surprised and ask me what it is. 
  • Friday night we just went to dinner - Brad got back in town from New York and so we went on a little date. However, by the time we got home, he was so tired and he went to bed! We are Captain and Princess excitement, at your service. 
  • Holly's birthday is tomorrow! Happy Birthday Holly! She and her hubby have a little one coming next spring, so lots to celebrate this year! It just won't be the usual way we celebrate each other's birthdays will multiple bottles of wine, public renditions of a Chorus Line and mooning.  We'll save that for future years, when it will all be followed by Dangit, I've got to get home and pay the sitter! 
  • This week I have Tuesday off for Veteran's day and have all these productive plans - buying fabric for the nursery, ordering the rocker arm chair, registering for the baby and running errands. Hopefully Brad won't have to work late because I feel like cooking too. I'm just too sleepy and lazy to do it tonight. 
  • I use google images to post pictures of what size the baby is and this week's comparison is an ear of corn. The baby is almost a foot long in length and it said to picture an ear of corn. WHEN, I ask you, have you ever eaten corn on the cob that was a foot long?  I feel like I am becoming some sort of watchdog group for, calling BS on their claims. At any rate, what I have discovered through my google search is that LOTS of people love posting pictures of their small children and dogs eating corn on the cob. I'm not sure why - it has never occurred to me to give my dogs corn on the cob, but I guess I will probably find it fascinating when my child tucks into some for the first time. I thought maybe I'd pick the cutest kid or the cutest dog and post it, but then even that became entirely too much effort.  So instead you get this picture, which is what Babycenter is tells me my kid looks like this week. A face only a mother could love!
It's now time for some more poodle-style napping (all 4 of us napping simultaneously with much gusto) and then maybe a shower and a walk. And yes, I realize the Sunday afternoon nap will be a thing of the past after the baby comes, so I will relish in this one. =)

One last thing - My cousin Mike left for a year long tour in Afghanistan this week. Please keep him, his wife and his 1 year old son in your thoughts and prayers. I know they all miss each other terribly and we are all concerned for Mike's safety. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Did someone drug my water yesterday?

I don't know what is going on with me, but I can not, in this historic election week, keep my eyes open. I had a meeting for Komen right after work yesterday and then rushed home to start watching election returns. 20 minutes later I'm asleep. Brad finally woke me up when he needed to start packing for his Long Island trip (I fell asleep on him) and I got up and tried to do some things around the house but then we started watching returns again. 15 minutes later I was asleep. I remember briefly waking up when Virginia was called for Obama and again during McCain's concession speech and thinking WAKE UP Kara, this is important! But no, fast asleep. Does my psyche actually find the returns tiresome? Is this what the media means when they use the term 'Election Fatigue'????

When we went to bed later I thought for sure I'd be up during the night since I usually stink at sleeping. But no, slept straight through until Brad had to get up for his flight at 4am and then back to sleep after he left until my alarm went off. Now I sit at work, ready to just lay my head down on this desk and sleep. I think the baby must be growing a bunch and it's just really all I have in me to stay awake. Even after a nice little soy latte from Starbucks. Oh well, I guess productivity just wasn't in the cards for me today. Happy Hump Day everone!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Election Day!

Hope you voted and don't forget - the freebies this year are ridiculous! Thank you corporate America!

Monday, November 3, 2008


Mom and I had so much fun visiting Meredith this past weekend in Brooklyn! We took the picture above at lunch before we went to go see In the Heights, a show Mer picked out and got us tickets for. It was the most incredible show - I have spent all day today singing little songs from it. Coworkers again fighting each other to sit near me.

So breaking down the weekend - we got in Friday and met up with Mer and Lucas (who her friends collectively and affectionately refer to as Mucas - I love that) met us at the apartment we rented on Craig's list from our new best friend we've never met Susan. Well, Mer met her when she was checking out the apartment before we rented it but all we really know is from the apartment. Susan has a very bohemian, gypsy-type decorating taste, which comes in handy when you need a yoga room like she has but is not so convenient if you want to actually see yourself in all the dim mood lighting. Especially in the bathroom, which was so dark I'm only kinda partially sure I actually showered. We also enjoyed the nude pictures everywhere and excitement of not knowing what piece of decorative clutter we were going to knock over each time we turned around! Actually in all seriousness, you couldn't beat the apartment's location and it was pretty inexpensive, so was an ideal solution for a little weekend trip. I joke because I love...

Anyways, Mucas had this Italian place in mind for dinner called al di la trattoria and it was the most amazing Italian food I've had since I was actually in Italy. Just melt in your mouth fresh pasta and this wild mushroom appetizer - everything was so fresh and delicious. Then the waiter offered up black pepper gelato for dessert and just totally lost me. I'd like to think of myself as a pretty adventurous eater, but hearing that as a choice just made me want to chuck my spare fork at him. Lately, waiters better offer up something with chocolate or step away from the scary, dessert-craving pregnant woman. 

Saturday morning, my mom and I got up and headed over to see the fine folks at Connecticut Muffin (we went 3 times in 2 days), get some breakfast and meet up with my friend Jennie. Jennie and I met 9 years ago at a 3 week Deloitte training in Leesburg, Virginia and have stayed in touch ever since. She's always traveling the world and was running the marathon on Sunday, so it was neat to hear about all she has going on. Chick is going to camp overnight in Antarctica in December - can't wait to see those pictures!

The rest of the day we spent going to the show, shopping in Herald Square and getting some dinner with Mer back in Brooklyn. Sunday we of course had to hit Connecticut Muffin again and later went to brunch will all of Mer's friends. I'll have to go back some time when I can really take advantage of all-you-can-drink mimosas. After that we checked out the Pratt Institute where Meredith worked, which is a beautiful campus filled with outdoor sculptures. We walked around and looked but then had to head back to catch a cab to the airport. The lack of cabs had us in a state of sheer panic - I was really worried I would miss my flight. Mer was running around the circle trying to find us something when one finally popped up and my mom and I grabbed it. Unfortunately that meant only getting to wave goodbye to Mer instead of hug her, which was kind of anticlimactic! Virtual hugs Mer - thanks for a fun weekend!!! 

Some more pics - Mer and Lucas at Pratt with unplanned, but perfectly staged fall foliage behind them:

These are Mer's good friends who we got to meet at brunch on Sunday. I felt totally Sex and the City (less cheesy though) brunching on the weekend like that. I guess that would make me Miranda since I'm pregnant and we were in Brooklyn. =) I may have to bring back the brunch in Richmond - it's going to have a renaissance here, I can just feel it!

Well, nothing like a fun weekend to make the work-week doldrums even more ... doldrumy. We'll get to see Mer again in a couple months for Christmas in Dallas and hopefully she and Lucas can come visit after the baby gets here. It was an awesome weekend - hopefully we can do it again some time! 

Thursday, October 30, 2008

State of the Uterus - Week 24

Since we were too early to really see much (except that the baby was a boy) last time at our ultrasound, we got to go back for another one today. It was so much fun! The baby was moving a ton, playing with his arms and legs and - how cute is this - trying to suck his thumb!! My parents may not think that is cute as they remember the bills from my retainer to fix the damage MY thumb sucking caused. Anyways, the ultrasound tech said babies are very clumsy at this stage and a lot of times can't quite get their thumbs in the mouth so will suck on whatever - their wrist, their hand, etc. The baby had one hand up by his face like he was about to tell a secret, and the other hand was moving all around trying to get thumb to mouth. His left foot swung up and around at one point too. We also saw, again, confirmation that the baby is in fact a boy. 

So check out the money shots!

He weighs 1 pound, 3 ounces and is perfect in every way. We are so lucky. Brad may be a teensy bit more lucky than I am since he did not have to gain six pounds in four weeks for such perfection to be possible. He may find himself excommunicated from future doctor visits if he doesn't quit telling me I am gaining 40 pounds no problem by the time I give birth. He was even flashing four 10's with his hands behind the doctor's back while she was talking to me and finding himself completely hilarious.  As Stephen Colbert would say, Brad you are ON NOTICE!

I am hesitant to even go here because I think babycenter has officially gone off the deep end with this comparison, but the baby is now the size of a mango. Did I miss something or is a spaghetti squash sooooo much bigger then a mango? I mean, I don't want to be a high maintenance subscriber or anything, it just seems so obvious. Oh well. The mango pictures were boring, so I'm posting what REALLY sounds good! A Mango Margarita!

It has been a truly exhausting week and I know both of us are ready for it to be the weekend. I had to go out of town for work and it just really takes it out of me at this point - I am so sleepy! We both have fun weekends planned, though - I am leaving for New York tomorrow to meet up with my mom and visit my sister Meredith in Brooklyn! She got us tickets to see In the Heights and we are just going to shop and check things out and probably have some very yummy food. Brad is going out with some friends, attending our friend Emily's 30th birthday party and having some guys over for football and wings on Sunday. So very action packed and fun, no rest for the weary, etc. etc. That's all for now folks! Have a great weekend yourselves!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Craptastic Monday

All that yard work I was so pleased to blog about yesterday has left me in serious back pain. I think I overdid it. I had the heating pad on for 2 hours last night and Brad put the massager thing on my back for a while too. I slept ok, but work up sore. Sitting in my chair at work was such a picnic! I kept thinking, I will find an excuse to leave early and go take it easy with clear conscience at home. But I never did and actually left late because it was Craptastic Monday! 

You know those days when you wake up with a pit in your stomach because it's the beginning of the week and you fully realize all that it's going to take to get you to Friday? That was this morning. It was dark out, I remembered the meetings I had today that I really didn't want to attend, the icky project I have been procrastinating on forever because it stinks and I have to go out of town tomorrow for a brutal all day meeting on Wednesday. On Long Island. And not the good part. 

The drive to work was pleasant with all the trees in their bright fall colors, but then it got really cold and yucky here during the day today as some cold front came through. A cold front that has my Facebook friends in Texas and Arkansas ecstatic enough to post weather-related statuses. I could do without the wet and just take some cold, but I guess that's fall for you. No walk for the poodles tonight. Frozen french bread pizza and Two and a Half Men reruns for me.

So my gift to you on Craptastic Monday - a boring blog post. Enjoy! I'm going to go read one of my borrowed books about how make babies stop screaming. Sounds like a good way to top off the day. Anticipating the future! I'm really not even in the mood for Gossip Girl - that's saying something.

P.S. Thanks to everyone who emailed or posted on the fabric. It's pretty much hands down unanimous for the top fabric with the lime green. And then when the baby is ready to move to his big boy room I will either recover it, move it to a different room or have another baby, which must be a girl so I can put a pink pillow on the chair, which would be so cute! I can just hear that argument one day - But Brad, we HAVE to have another baby now - what else are we going to do with that chair????

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Nursery Decorating Dilemma

**Warning** This blog entry may be extremely boring if you don't like decorating....

I have been a little perplexed today with a pressing nursery decision: color scheme. It's what my friend Kristy would call a Middle Class White Girl Problem. And isn't it ever? Something to obsess about that has absolutely no impact on just about anyone.  

But here's the gist: First, please excuse the paint splattered step stool I have the fabric laying on. The fabric in the middle I love love love and will be made into curtains for the two windows. What I need to figure out is a fabric to cover my swivel rocker and tie that in to some crib bedding. Trying to decide between the top and bottom fabrics for that. 

The bedding is going to be (I think) either this light blue or navy blue gingham/dot combo.  I like the top fabric because it is lighter colored and has the lime green in it - very cute and nursery-ish. The bottom fabric, which is Brad's favorite, almost feels nautical, which is fun, and would transition well into a big boy room. 

For further context, here is the wall color and the framed prints that I have had for 4 years awaiting my child's future nursery. They are both non-negotiables

And here is the darling duck rug, which we got cleaned and looks almost new. It's pretty neutral so has almost no bearing on the decision.

I just have to throw this in here too because I'm so pleased with myself! I found this jenny lind changing table on Craig's list for $15. I am going to paint it white and put cute little storage containers, such as these, full of supplies on the bottom shelves. So here's the before and the after picture will come later. 

Ok, that's all I've got. Now go to the comments section and be opinionated. This is one of those opportunities in life where you are being solicited for your opinion and it may be completely ignored! But I'd like to hear some different thoughts. 

Curb Appeal

Brad and I have been working on the front of our house for several months now and I think we are pretty close to reaching a stopping point. We have: cleared out around 15 trees, had rotted wood on the house replaced, had the shutters and front door repainted, had a new walkway to the front door installed, put in new beds by the house and up the driveway and removed a lot of ickiness. Today we planted along the driveway, mulched and Brad tried to get more of the azaleas on their last leg up out of the yard. So anyways, I wanted to share some photos to show the progress. I am quite irked I can not locate my 'before' pictures - I think they are on my work laptop.

Check out my salmon colored front door! I thought I was going to have to do something much closer to red for it to pass the Brad sniff test, but when I brought the swatches home, he liked this color! There was this salmon and blue colored bathroom at this hotel (Lodge at Koehle) we stayed at on our honeymoon in Hawaii and ever since then we've been trying to recreate some salmon magic. We tried with this little bathroom we had in Dallas, but there was no natural light in that room, so it just screamed SALMON at you when you walked in. The shutters on the house were this strange forest green color before, but are now true black.

Here are the new beds to the right, which the photo doesn't really give justice. There was a bunch of overgrown crap there before.

And the bed to the left, along with the new brick walkway. 

Now we are waiting for the new grass seed to grow and give us a more lush yard. Fewer trees will help with that. I think next year we're going to try and expand the yard into the treed area area at the front of the house and start working on the backyard. Right now, even in my full-out nesting obsession, the backyard feels too intimidating. It is large, it is wooded and it is neglected. It is a poodle paradise.

Spooner Tails - October 26

What a fabulously lame weekend we are having! We have had this string of busy weekends and have some more busy weekends after this, but this weekend we have been at home, taking care of errands, doing projects around the house, being football watching slugs and otherwise not contributing to society. Here are the highlights of our nothing (cue the bullets):
  • Got my haircut with someone new and I have FINALLY found someone in Richmond who knows how to cut bangs. And she goes to the same OB/GYN I do! Dr. D received high marks for the delivery of my hairdresser's son 18 months ago, which is great, but kind of crazy that Richmond is THAT small. Anyways, it poured rain yesterday so cute haircut got sticky from all the product and now needs to be re-done. No pictures just yet.
  • After all the rain yesterday (which did not stop Brad from yard work) it's a beautiful day today! I think we're going to finish the yard finally and complete our episode of curb appeal. I'll post pics.
  • Also on tap today: cooking! 15 bean soup, turkey chili and my dad's mango jalapeno chutney to get revved up for the holidays. Think turkey is bland? Light it on fire with some of this!  I really do not like turkey, but with chutney it's ok. It's also excellent over a block of cream cheese with crackers. 
  • This week I'm going to New York twice. Tues-Weds for work (blah) and then on Friday with my mom to visit my sister! Stop me if I've talked about this before, but Meredith moved to Brooklyn recently to take a job with the Pratt Institute. She just got a little apartment in Park Slope with a roommate and my mom and I are staying nearby in a rental apartment. We're going to shop and check things out - it's going to be really fun.
  • When I'm in Brooklyn, I'm sure I'm going to see Michelle Williams, Maggie Gyllenhaal (who I read isn't particularly nice) and Keri Russell (yay Felicity!). Maybe they'll be nice to me because I'm pregnant. That theory sure is working with everyone at my work, after all. Of course, I don't hesitate to remind all of them that it is wrong to be mean to a pregnant person. Pregnant people don't have wine to make everyone else more tolerable. =)
  • Sweet Baby O next door has a new favorite activity - coming to visit the poodles. Her parents now have to be very careful when they promise to come over because she will hold them to it! She got very fussy with them last night. They walk over to the fence during the week and today she's coming over to the house. She calls the dogs 'yo-yo' (for Zoe and Ringo), which is so precious. My mom predicted she'd have a one syllable name for each dog. I think we need to build a little gate in our fence to make things easier on Kristen. Kids don't become less demanding as they get closer to 2, do they?
This week the baby is the length of a spaghetti squash. That vegetable we have all ignored except for that brief period during the low-carb boom when we tried to convince ourselves it REALLY did taste like spaghetti. Yeah. And mashed cauliflower is just like potatoes! It's probably my least favorite squash because how do you compete with butternut, acorn and summer squash?

Apparently whoever is responsible for the pictures on Google Images do not find the spaghetti squash as interesting as the rutabaga. I was hoping for a somewhat fun picture to break the monotony of whole vegetables I post here each week, but the best I could do was a small kid with a spaghetti squash. So parents be warned: Do not post pictures of your children with spaghetti squash unless you want them to end up on random blogs. It's all about knowing which fruits and vegetables is going to exploit in their weekly newsletter. Anyways, here's the kid, rolling a squash around like I hope nobody ever does to MY kid:

Happy weekend - go do something that makes you feel just a little bit guilty today!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bump Watch 2008 - Week 22

Brad took this picture right before we left our hotel to go to Lakshmy's surprise party. I feel like the bump is getting bigger, but in the pictures it doesn't seem like it's all that much bigger then four weeks ago.  But I am meeting more resistance when I try to get up off the sofa or out of Brad's car, so there's gotta be more of something there. These are my super cute maternity jeans and a long sweater that I found at TJ Maxx (non-maternity). 

After this weekend I've decided I need to hurry up and get some more sweaters - I really didn't have warm enough clothes for all this chilly weather. I have to order stuff online because the stores here don't carry anything. I hate not being able to touch the clothes before buying them. The Gap looks like it has some cute stuff, so I may try them. Mimi's return policy is for the birds, after all. You have 10 days to return for store credit only. Whatever. Laaaame.

The baby has been kicking up a storm lately and Brad has now felt the baby move twice.  Peanut is only partially cooperative - we couldn't get him to kick at all during Lakshmy's party for anyone. It's pretty funky feeling him move in my stomach - kind of like a heartwarming version of Alien.  It's really reassuring, though, to feel him move so much and I'm fairly certain I fall in love with him a little bit more each time I feel something.

Lakshmy's Birthday Party

We just got back from DC where we celebrated Lakshmy's 30th birthday with a surprise party thrown by her sweet hubby Mike. Lakshmy and Mike are our really good friends we went to Alaska with a couple of years ago. I met Lakshmy through a book club I found on Craig's list when we moved to DC. Pretty random. After a few meetings we discovered we had more hobbies in common then reading, such as drinking wine and gossiping, and we've been close friends ever since. 

So anyways, Mike was sweating pretty badly when we met up with him at Aroma Co. in Cleveland Park for the party - apparently Lakshmy did not leave their condo until 5:45 and the party started at 6:30! Mike's cover was that he was sick and couldn't go out to dinner that night. He said it was like Ferris Beuller hurrying to get ready and get to Cleveland Park after faking sick. Lakshmy got to the party spot with some girlfriends around 7:30 and seemed totally surprised! Her sister made her swear she didn't know and she did, so we must have pulled it off. You just don't lie to your sister about such things. 

Anyways, it was a great party and we got to see lots of people we hadn't seen in a while. I hope to have some fun pictures to post later - most of them were taken on my friends' cameras. 

We spent the night in Bethesda and got up this morning and walked around a bit, reminiscing. When Brad and I first moved to DC we were in corporate housing in Bethesda for 3 months and had so much fun. We walked everywhere with Zoe and his work was just down the street. We'd meet up at night after he finished work and try new places for dinner. Ahhh Bethesda we love you. I think we would have stayed longer this morning but it was COLD! So we grabbed some breakfast at Old Georgetown Grille and headed towards Richmond. On the way home we dropped by IKEA to return the dresser I bought when I thought for sure I was having a girl and pick one for a boy. I'm sure the top of Brad's to-do list is to assemble it. 

I think the rest of today we're going to do some stuff around the house and have football on. I'm making this scallop and corn chowder recipe that you serve over mashed potatoes for dinner. It's from Susan Branch's Autumn book. I love all her books - if you haven't ready any of them, you should, they are full of great ideas for cooking and decorating. They also make lovely gifts. It is all chilly and crisp outside and the leaves are changing colors. I may have to make pumpkin bread too, I just don't know. You can let a beautiful Sunday like this pass you by! 

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Plano/McKinney/Dallas Trip

I found out late last week that I needed to go to Plano for work for 2 days this week and I was so excited because my parents are living in McKinney and my sister is in Dallas and I haven't really gotten to go see them since they moved there. It was a really fun trip! Because I adore writing in bullet format, here is a list of the highlights:
  • I got to see my parent's new house, which they moved into in September and is so cute! They are working hard to decorate before Christmas, when we will all be together. They got some beautiful rugs and sofas when I was there and have more furniture on the way. The house backs up to a wooded area that is very peaceful and my dad seems to enjoy it when he's out back with the smoker. They have a lot of wildlife in the wooded area, much of which would love to get their paws on my mom's shih tzu Odie. 
  • I also got to see my sister's cute little apartment, which is about 5 minutes from where Brad and I lived in Lakewood Heights. It's on Gaston Avenue, which was so ghetto when we lived there, but has been really cleaned up. I was happy to see that because it is only one street over from the beautiful Swiss Avenue. I always thought it was a shame Gaston was in such disrepair just one block over. Anyways, Megan's apartment is darling and cozy - she is a cute little decorator! She has a very neat balcony with lots of plants and a chair to relax and drink wine.
  • I got to eat at some of my favorite places while I was there: Tin Star, Gloria's and my dad's kitchen! He made fish tacos! I also had Pei Wei up in Plano and frankly it was disappointing. I won't bother next time - there's too much good food to choose from there. 
  • My mom felt the baby kick! I didn't think anyone would be able to this early, but she put her hand on my tummy and started singing and sure enough, that got some kicks going! I came home and told Brad tonight he had to put his hand on my tummy and he was able to feel a couple of kicks too! 
  • My mom also pulled out some things from the bedrooms when my sisters and I were small for me to bring home. There were 2 sets of bookends and 2 decorative wooden hangers. I think all the items are German. My aunt and uncle lived in Germany when I was a kid and we have some of the most beautiful painted wooden things from there. My family has little wooden Christmas ornaments, Easter tree ornaments, toys, etc. I'm excited to put these in the nursery - I'll have to post some pics. 
  • I had 4 on time flights - 2 going and 2 coming home. Feels like nothing short of a miracle. 
Now I'm back and the rest of the work week is proving to be brutal. My outlook calendar is a blob of back to back meetings. I am so worn out - can't wait to sleep in on Saturday! 

Monday, October 13, 2008

Spooner Tails - Horrendously Overdue Special Edition

I'm delayed in getting this (last) week's tails up, mainly because I completely overdid it this past weekend, took on too much and am still in a black hole of exhaustion. In my haze, this is what I think is going on: 
  • Last weekend was about 5 minutes long. What we crammed in: dinner with the Franks, Komen Race Cabinet Retreat, TJ Maxx (me), golf (Brad), dinner with Brad's dad for his birthday, soccer game (Brad), helping Sue make invitations (me), disassemble fence (Brad), pick up nursery prints from framers, plants for the yard, power cord, dinner (me), pot mums (me), work on driveway beds with new plants, do laundry (Brad - isn't he awesome?), pack for Dallas (me). Phew!
  • I finally figured out what the poodles have been so excited about in the back yard. We have a mole or some other kind of small animal building burrows in the back of the yard. The poodles discovered this and tried to dig the burrows out and find the animal. Our neighbor said it was hilarious - she kept grabbing these giant roots in her mouth and enthusiastically tugging on them. This is the same dog (Zoe) who completely chewed up and destroyed our downspout to get to a mouse or squirrel that was stuck in there, so I guess this doesn't surprise me. I blame her because she was the dirty one last week. Ringo typically lets her do all the work. Such a man! Oh, kidding!!
  • We are trying to finish up the front yard before it gets too chilly. It's hard because the weekends have been so busy. I think we'll give it until next weekend and then just live with it. I have nesting to do inside, too, you know! I potted some maroon and white mums - Whoop and Go Hogs!
  • My mom and I booked our trip to Brooklyn to visit my sister Meredith! We are going over Halloween weekend and have rented an apartment off of craig's list. I hope it's ok and they don't take our money and run, but Meredith lives close by and can harass them if they do. 
  • I think that's it. Glad it's almost the weekend again. Fridays mean another week of pregnancy complete! Last week a banana, this week a carrot. That refers only to length so it's not as much fun as the round fruit and vegetable comparisons.
To jazz things up, I have picked some carrot art off of Google Images. This is called 'Mr. and Mrs. Carrot'. Enjoy!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Station Break

I would like to take a moment to thank our new sponsor, the Gentle Leader dog harness, for improving our quality of dog walks. Those of you who have had the arm stretching, muscle building experience of walking my dogs would think they had been possessed and taken over by some other, well-behaved life form. We are still working out the kinks and the dogs are a little confused, but I think here in a few months I will be able to do what I assumed would be impossible - walk 2 55 pound dogs while pushing a stroller. You'll have to see it to believe it!