The Inherent Dangers of Christmas Lights and Biscuit Dough, as Covered in Section 32.b, Clause 7

Yesterday Tony and I had an appointment with our insurance agent to talk about life insurance*. Today Tony is convinced that he has almost died twice in the last few hours alone. Apparently now that we're talking policies, Death is following him around the house.

The first "deadly" occurrence occurred while putting the Christmas decorations away. Ya'll might remember that due to my delicate condition, Dad came out and hung my Christmas lights on the roof for me. (I'm sure I could have managed it just fine, but my mother promised me a slow and painful death if I so much as even thought about climbing on the roof while carrying her grandbaby). Anyway, as much fun as it has been to have the lights up, all good Christmas lights must come to an end. And it just so happened that today dawned warm and sunny, and we had the time, so it seemed to be the perfect day to remove said Christmas lights. Only Dad wasn't around. And I'm still not allowed on the roof.

So that just left Tony.

(Here's the thing you need to know about Tony. SERIOUS fear of heights. Not just that he doesn't like them, but that he won't go past about the third step on the ladder. Hold a snake? No problem. Catch a spider bare-handed? Doesn't flinch. Investigate weird noises in the middle of the night? He's a pro. But heights? Not his thing).

Now, it's one thing to be scared of something, (Lord knows you wouldn't catch me with 50 feet of a snake or a spider or potential home invaders), but I think it shows a special brand of bravery to know you have this fear and yet man up and do whatever needs to be done anyway. To take the sweats and the shakes and the paralyzing fear lodged in your throat and just grit your teeth and work through it.

Which is how Tony found himself on the roof, convinced he was about to die.

(To be fair, he was not anywhere close to dying. I go up there all the time. It's very safe. Besides, he was army crawling on his belly across a very gentle slope, a good 4 feet from the edge at all times. And even if he did manage to fall, it would only be a drop of about 10 feet, so maybe a bad sprain at the very worst).

But that is not the point.

The point is that Tony (metaphorically) looked death in the eye and very bravely said, "Not on my watch, Death!" while trying to unhook Christmas lights from the gutter without actually opening his eyes. Then he scurried back down the ladder, kissed the ground several times, and very manfully hyperventilated for the next hour. (All because I needed him to remove Christmas lights. How can I not be crazy about this guy?)

The second "near death experience" was slightly less deadly, but much more shocking. Tony was in the kitchen making Hamburger Helper for dinner while I was in the living room, messing around on this here computer. He had just pulled a tube of crescent rolls out of the fridge and had walked in to ask me something when the can very suddenly exploded in his hands. (And I'm not talking about the little pop when you unwrap it...this sounded like a gunshot going off. The entire can exploded literally, with biscuit bits flying through the air and landing on me from a good 12 feet away. Dough on couch, dough on the carpet, dough on me and was the wildest thing I've ever seen).** We just stood there in shock for a moment before Tony threw his hands up in the air and yelled "Happy New Year!" Talk about ringing in 2011 with a bang!

After several minutes of trying to extract raw dough from the carpet (hint: don't try to vacuum it up), Tony decided that this was a sign from the life insurance gods. Apparently the world is out to get us (or at least him) with bizarre and creative death threats, so he might as well fill out the forms and get them back to our insurance guy for processing post haste.

I suppose it makes sense (well, maybe not the death by biscuit threat, but the end result of getting life insurance). We all have to go sometime, right? And none of us knows when that time is coming (or how), so the least we can do is be mature about it and prepare as much as we can.

Plus that way Baby Girl will be provided for while she waits for the wrongful death suit against Pillsbury to come back.

*To make a long story about 30 year term vs universal long life coverage short, it seemed like a responsible thing to do now that Baby Girl is scheduled to make an appearance. (By the way, while the life insurance people were more than happy to cover Tony, it seems that they consider pregnancy to be a pre-existing condition. They want to wait until after the birth to sign me up. I guess it wouldn't be good business for them if I suddenly kicked it during delivery, and only after three monthly payments to boot, so they're waiting on me). Thanks for the vote of confidence, life insurance people.

**Technically, Tony likes to count the exploding biscuits as two attempts on his life. One because he was holding the can when it went off, thus subjecting him to potentially serious shrapnel dough, (can uncooked crescent roll put your eye out?) and two, the reason that the whole thing exploded in the first place was a pressurized buildup of bacteria in the dough. So even though the expiration date was fine, the biscuits were bad, and Tony is just sure that we all would have died from biscuit food poisoning given half the chance.***

*** Tony's food poisoning conspiracy aside, the cats thought that covering the living room in uncooked dough for New Year's was a great idea, and they each managed to eat several pieces off of the floor before we could shoo them out and get the rest picked up. So far, no one has exhibited any poisoned dough-related side effects.

10 weeks

I was looking at the calendar today, and it occurred to me that I probably only have about 10 weeks left of being pregnant. (I'm 27 and a half weeks now...they figure I won't get to the full 40 weeks, so 37 and a half weeks sounds pretty accurate at this point). But 10 weeks! Do you know how fast that goes?! 10 weeks is nothing! A blink of an eye! And then she'll be here and...and I'm just not sure I'm ready.

I mean, I just got used to the idea of being pregnant. I was doing okay with the doctor visits and playing set up the nursery, but I'm not sure I'm ready for this whole life-as-you-know-it-will-change-forever bit. It was a big enough adjustment just to get to this point, and this was the easy part!

I know that the whole point of all this incubating is so that she can eventually make her way out into the world, and I'd love to meet her, I really would...but at the same time, part of me wants her to stay right where she is now. I like her in here where she's all safe and easy to carry around. She takes care of all her needs automatically. I can't really screw it up. Now I have 10 weeks to figure out how to take care of a baby, and I'm not sure it's enough time. I've been so focused on the pregnancy part that it didn't really occur to me that I'd need to know stuff for when she actually gets here. And I'm not just talking about the feeding and the changing and the bathing stuff. I'm talking about the other stuff...the not as apparent stuff. The stuff I haven't even thought to ask about yet, but am still supposed to know. (I'm so in the dark that I don't even know what stuff I don't know). I'm afraid that we'll going to break her out of ignorance. I'm afraid the world will break her out of ignorance.

Plus, (and I know this is selfish of me) I kinda like having her all to myself. She's mine, and right now I don't have to share her with anyone else. All her rolls and kicks and hiccups? They're for me alone. I get her 24/7, and I never have to leave her. Like my shadow, or an invisible friend. Why should I have to share her? We already have each other.

I realize that this is exactly why no one gets a choice about when they are born. When it's time, it's time, no matter what my personal preferences are for her staying. And maybe in another couple of months I'll become big and miserable and be like those women who are all, "I CANNOT WAIT TO GET THIS BABY OUT OF ME ALREADY!", but right now?

10 weeks seems frighteningly short.

A Christmas Recap

I just wanted you to know that we have made it safely back from our Christmas travels to the Great White North (which happened to be particularly white this year with all the snow everywhere). But it was good, and we had fun, and it's always nice to see family.
  • We flew to Chicago Friday morning. I had studied up on all the "flying while pregnant" articles and advice, and had snacks, extra water, a copy of my medical records (just in case), and a note from my doctor informing anyone who asked that he had cleared me to fly. (The articles suggested this, as some airlines require a doctor's note just to make sure that you're not going to try to spontaneously give birth at 30,000 feet. I'm still three months away from my due date, but I studiously followed the advice and got my note just to be sure, which exactly no one requested to see. I was actually a little bummed).

  • Tony's parents, brother and youngest sister were all in attendance for Christmas (his other sister and niece were scheduled to arrive the day after we left), and we had a grand old time playing in the snow, attending the Christmas Eve mass and having a hearty holiday dinner at his grandmother's house. (With Christmas cookies. We can't forget Grandma's famous frosted sugar cookies. I had failed my first glucose test and wasn't scheduled to take the 3 hour one until after we returned, so I ate my body weight in Christmas cookies, just in case it would be my last chance until after the baby was born).
(Like that old saying goes, "Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we might be diabetic").

(Or something like that anyway).
  • They had a good 6 inches or so of snowfall while we were there, so Tony challenged his whole family to a snow ball fight in the front yard. (Well, not me, obviously. I was bundled up and assisted to a nice non-slippery spot out of firing range to observe. No hitting the pregnant lady and all that...although that didn't stop me from tossing a couple at Tony anyway, especially since he couldn't retaliate. Gotta take advantage of this baby thing any way you can, you know?).
  • Christmas presents were awesome as always, with Baby Girl making out like a bandit. (Is it fair to get Christmas presents when you aren't technically born yet? Apparently family members think yes.) She racked up dozens of cute little outfits and toys and a stuffed Tigger that is bigger than she is (at the moment anyway), all of which I'm sure she'll appreciate once she does arrive.

  • Tony had to work the following Monday, so it had to be a quick trip. We did manage to get in a nice brunch and visit with Seester and her hubby, (Stubby) back in Chicago though, so we were able to spend some time with all of the Illinois relations, quick trip or not. Then it was back to the airport, back through security, back on a plane (delayed an hour and 15 minutes, but in airport time, that's still practically considered on schedule) and back to scraping three days worth of ice and snow off the car in economy parking.
  • The cats were certainly happy that we were home. Due to the above mentioned delay, we actually didn't come stumbling in until after 11pm, but that didn't stop the cats from being significantly relieved to see us. So relieved, in fact, that we couldn't move with all the cat attention. (You know those kids who cling to your legs as you drag them from room to room? Imagine that, only smaller, furrier, and times 5). You'd think we had abandoned them for years instead of just three days. In fact, they were so excited that we were back that we were showered in homecoming gifts. That following morning, I opened my eyes to discover that I was nose to nose (beak?) with their rattiest, most chewed, best loved stuffed toy, Birdie, nestled lovingly on the pillow next to me so I would be sure to see it first thing. (In addition to a slightly slobbered on bundle of feathers and escaped stuffing, further investigation also revealed another stuffed toy (Mason's favorite) and a catnip pillow, tucked under the covers and next to my feet, respectively). I'm not sure if these were tokens to express their appreciation that we returned or bribes to keep us from leaving again, but these most beloved toys, willingly shared, were some of my favorite Christmas gifts this year.
All in all, a pretty good Christmas. We were able to spend time with family, have a white Christmas, eat good food, laugh a lot, and get back home without too much trouble. If that doesn't make a holiday a success, I don't know what does.

Snowball Fight!

Some quick pictures of the snowball fight that erupted due to all the winter precipitation in Illinois.Tony's Mom and sister with Buddy the dog, out enjoying the snow.

But what's this? Tony lurking in the background, getting ready to pelt his unsuspecting mother with a snow ball!

She loves him anyway.

No attacking the pregnant lady!

Baby Girl is safe from snow balls. (Although notice he's still "armed and dangerous").

Enough posing for pictures! The Snow Ball Warrior is on the hunt for his next target!

Here's hoping your holidays were filled with fun and laughter also!

Baby Update: Kicking Butt and Taking Names

We haven't done a baby update in a while...let's do that, shall we? I know you guys are just dying to know all about my incubating adventures.

  • So we're at 26 weeks this week, which is almost to the end of the second trimester. 2/3rds of the way through. While I'm totally psyched that we're this much closer to getting to actually meet Baby Girl, I must admit that I'm a little sad to be leaving the manna from Heaven stage that is the second trimester. I mean, the second is easily the best. The first trimester was filled with nausea and fear of miscarriage and sleeping ALL THE TIME, and the third (from what I understand) will play host to being so large you're uncomfortable, and swollen feet, and random aches and pains, and the inability to ever find a comfortable sleeping position ever again. But the second? Golden, baby. That was filled with first flutters, and finding out the sex, and really getting to watch her grow. (Not to mention the return of my appetite, increased energy, and finally having enough of a baby bump to keep the maternity pants from slipping down). Still, I guess all that pales in comparison to actually getting to meet Baby Girl and hold her in my arms, so once more into the breach, I suppose.
  • You'll be glad to know that Baby Girl is doing fine. She's a little over a pound to a pound and a half, and measures somewhere around 14" long (think the length of an English hothouse cucumber, only not as skinny, of course). When they last "weighed" her two weeks ago, she was a little on the small side weight-wise, but since her current studio apartment is also the same way, the doctors are not concerned. (Better to have a small baby in a small uterus than a big baby in a small uterus, I say). They'll measure her again next week to make sure she's growing at a constant rate, which is the important part.
  • I'd also like to report that she's an active little thing. Always moving and turning and kicking and generally making her opinions known. She used to only kick at certain times of the day, but I feel her pretty much constantly now. The only time that she's still is when my family is around, which is funny because they all love nothing more than to run over to put their hands on my belly to feel her kick, so she's deliberately quiet then, the little stinker. After 10pm seems to be her most active times (naturally), but she has recently shown an increased interest in kicking during hockey games on TV. (Tony considers this a positive sign).
  • I'm still not that large in the whole baby bump area. I mean, I measure exactly where I'm supposed to, but due to the whole long torso thing, I tend to carry more up and down than out. (The rule of thumb is that for every week along, you're supposed to measure around that in inches from the pubic bone to the top of the uterus. I'm 26 weeks, and measuring 25.5", so I'm right where I need to be). I look like I'm smuggling a small volleyball under my shirt. Shorter women at 26 weeks look to be smuggling the entire volleyball team. It all depends on how big you are as the team bus, I suppose.
  • In not so awesome news, I failed my glucose test yesterday. This is the test that checks for gestational diabetes, and the way it works is they give you this sugary orange drink that takes like liquid Popsicle, and then do a blood test to make sure that you're processing the sugars the way you should. Long story short, I was supposed to be under 130, and I ended up at 179. Not so good for the whole sugar processing thing. Of course, they design that test to have a lot of false positives in order to make sure they catch all the people who really do have diabetes (I was number 10 to be tested that morning and number 4 to fail), so we won't know if I really have diabetes until next week when I take the in-depth, 4 hour, multiple-melted Popsicle and blood drawing test. (My doctor thinks I'll have at least a 75% chance of passing the second test. I don't have a history of diabetes, nor am I overweight, so he thinks I'm just one of the false positives). Just in case though, I'm eating all the sweets and candies and chocolates I want this week in case I'm not allowed to after next week. Call it sugar processing practice.
  • You'll be glad to know that other than growing another human being inside me, I'm not suffering from any other bizarre pregnancy symptoms. (I had no idea there were so many weird things that went along with pregnancy! Everything from out of control acne to exploding body hair to double vision and hemorrhoids. Ewwww! If I'd known about half of this stuff beforehand, I'd have locked myself away in a nunnery.) But you'll be glad to know that NONE of that stuff appears to be happening to me. In fact, I seem to be growing less body hair than before. (I tell you this not as a TMI, but completely in the spirit of "neener-neener, I can now go twice as long between shaving". You're welcome). In what I can only assume is a gift from the angels, my leg hair has appeared to have taken a long winter vacation. I mean, it still grows, but that growth just seemed to...slow down some, you know? Like baby-growing and hair growing required the same ingredients, and the baby-growing part snuck in and cleaned out the shelves before my personal body stock boys could restock. Which, you know, I am TOTALLY okay with. Especially since it's gotten a little hard to reach my legs anyway. But who knew that Baby Girl is my own personal internal version of Nair? Chalk one up for the kiddo.

So that's that. I am officially 152 lbs of lean, mean, baby-growing machine. With the exception of that tiny little glucose test failing incident, we are kicking butt and taking names on this whole pregnancy thing. Bring it on, third trimester!

Edited to add: You'll be happy to know that I passed the 3 hour glucose test with flying colors. Four blood draws and 4 passes. I celebrated with a pan of rice krispie treats.

A Gun is the Only Way You'd Ever Get Tony To Do A Headstand...

My mom sent me this link about awkward pregnancy photos from Pregnant Chicken, and some of them will just make you laugh until you wet yourself. (Or shoot a beverage out of your nose, depending on what you happen to be doing at the time that you click the link, and what orifice out of which you prefer to have liquid rapidly and unintentionally leave your body).

Really. Click right now. It's the perfect thing for a Monday, and you'll never look at pregnant ladies and guns (or naked guys) the same way again.

Tony, the Blahs, and the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra

Oooooh ya'll, I had the best time yesterday. We went to the Christmas show that the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra puts on, and it was just beautiful and magical and lovely, and I just had the best time!

Of course, the day didn't start out like that. You ever just wake up in a cranky blah mood for no particular reason? Well, that was me. Color me blah. And the closest reason that I could come up with was that I needed some excitement. My previous week was blah, my errands were blah, and we had absolutely no Saturday plans, which was blah cherry on top of my blah cake.

I think you get the picture.

Now normally, Tony (being of the male persuasion and all), can be somewhat blind to my blahs. On any given Saturday, the list of items that gets Tony's attention is 1) the sporting event currently playing on TV, 2) what is available to eat in the kitchen, and 3) the upcoming sporting event that will come on after the current sporting event is concluded. Whether or not his wife is emitting deep theatrical sighs falls somewhere around 4,783 on the Tony attention-o-meter. (Unless I cry. Sudden bursting into tears gets me up into the top 5, but only for as long as it takes me to tell him what it wrong. Lack of a specific reason drops me back down to around 28...high enough to make him pat me awkwardly on the leg while I sniff uncontrollably, but not enough to actually remove his eyes from the Bears/New England game. Like I said, he's a man).

But Tony must have been on especially on his game yesterday (or else it was halftime), because he picked up on my blahs without even a sniffle to clue him. And then he did the best thing. He gave me a hug. A good long bear hug. And then the second best thing...he asked if I wanted to go to dinner and the symphony.

To which I replied, "Oh my word, you've got some kind of terminal disease you aren't telling me about, don't you?"

See, I love the symphony. Love it love it love it. But this is a small miracle in terms of how Tony is usually willing to spend his Saturday nights. And just so you understand the full and total scale of this miraculous miracle, you should know that also playing at the Civic auditorium, at the very same time, in the very same venue as a the symphony orchestra, was a hockey game. So not only was Tony willing to sit through the symphony, but he was doing it instead of watching a hockey game.

And nothing says I love you like Tony skipping the chance to see a hockey game in order to sit through Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies.

(In fact, I'm still not sure the terminal disease thing is entirely off the table).

But we went, and it was fabulous. I got all gussied up in my finest giant blob maternity going-to-the-symphony clothes, and we had a lovely dinner at the new hibachi Japanese place (my choice...I was jonesing for some stir fry zucchini), and then we went to the Christmas show, which not only had the orchestra, but also the Knoxville Choral Society and a ballet dance troupe.

(I know! The symphony AND ballet! Not only is he terminal, but he's probably lost the house in a poker game and isn't telling me).

But you know what? I think he liked it. Maybe not enough to get season tickets, but enough that he didn't fall asleep or sneak off to catch the hockey score during intermission. And I loved it. The music was fabulous, the singing was fabulous, the dancing actually made me cry at one point. (Happy crying though, not blah crying. Apparently pregnancy hormones REALLY enjoy the Waltz of the Flowers. Go figure.) In fact, the one and only thing I'd change was the guy with the 2 year old girl that sat next to us. Don't get me wrong. The 2 year old was perfect...she never made a peep. The man, however, sang along with the orchestra on some of the songs. I did not come to the symphony to listen to you warble along to Little Drummer Boy, sir. Especially since you do not know all of the correct words.

But other than that? Fabulous Saturday night date. My own personal Prince Charming rode in, battled the blah monster, whisked me away for a magical night of music and dance, and then returned me safely home (where he promptly checked the game highlights, because he SWEARS he isn't dying).

So I guess the moral of the story is that my hubby is the best hubby ever. (Sorry ladies. He's all mine). And also, it's impossible to have the blahs when listening to the KSO do their Christmas show. And if you get a chance, go see it, because it is awesome.

You don't even have to have to be on your death bed.

The Year The Cats Finally Agree to Pose for the Christmas Card

Nothing thrills me more than getting a Christmas card from friends and family, even when it's a virtual one. So a very Merry Christmas to all of you out there in the blogosphere from all of us here at the House of Quirk!

Top row, from left to right: Tony, Me, Dixon, Sebastian.
Middle row: Bella
Bottom row, from left to right: Mason, Magellan, Baby Girl

Note: This is a scan of my hard copy cards from Shutterfly. The cards looked great this year if I do say so myself, so if you're in need of some last minute Christmas cheer, you still have time to head over there and make your own. (Adorable cat faces not included).

Tender Tennessee Christmas Tour

Well, it's that time of year again! The lights are lighting, the eggnog is nogging, and the Nester is doing her annual Christmas Tour of Homes! This year has a special bonus, because it just so happens to be snowing right now, which may not be much of a howdy do where you live, but pretty much thrills our little souls here in Knoxville, TN. (And by thrilled I mean flurries will shut down the city and cause a run on the milk in the super market, because hey, snowing in the South. But it does make for some pretty pictures, no?)

But where are my manners? Come on in and have a nice warm cup of cocoa.

I'm going to admit that we didn't really go all out this year like we have in years past. (For years past, feel free to click here or here or here). Reason number one is that we'll be traveling for Christmas this year (although with a house sitter so all of those with larceny in your hearts can just settle right back on down, thank you), and reason number two is that it's a little harder to deck those halls when the preggo belly keeps bumping into anything. But we did manage a little bit of Christmas cheer, so feel free to take a look around anyway.

Okay, so it isn't your traditional Christmas tree, but I think it makes a pretty stand-in. This is the Bird of Paradise from the back porch, and since it had to come in for the winter anyway, I thought a few snowflake decorations might liven it up a little bit.
What's with all the stockings, you ask? Why, one for each of the cats, of course! (If you're just passing through, you should know that we're cat people). 5 cat stockings, and 2 people stockings. And if you think that's crazy, just wait until next year when we add another one for Baby Girl! (I'm going to need a bigger mantle).

One thing that I absolutely insisted on, traveling or not, baby bump or not, is the icicle lights on the house. I love love LOVE coming home to all the colorful lights all lit up. It's so festive! So my dear ol' Dad very lovingly came over one afternoon to climb around on my roof and put them up for me. (This is usually my job since Tony has a fear of heights beyond the second step of the step-ladder, but something about the idea of a five and a half month pregnant woman climbing around on the second story roof and my mother nixed that idea toot sweet and sent poor Dad out as a stand-in). But he did a fabulous job, and I love all the pretty pretty blue lights, so thanks Dad!
So I suppose that's it. Thanks for stopping by and checking out our little tender Tennessee Christmas. If you're here by way of the Nester, then leave a comment and I'll return the favor.

Have a safe and blessed holiday, ya'll!

Hopes for my Daughter

Sometimes I sit around and daydream about how life will be for my daughter. I have hopes and dreams and expectations for her, and I thought I might jot a few down so that once she's here, I can remember and share them with her. These are for you, baby girl:

Number one, I hope you're healthy. Fingers and toes all accounted for, and healthy as a (small, easily birthed) horse. So far you look fabulous on the just keep up the good work in there, and you'll be just perfect when we get to see you in a few months, okay?

Secondly, I hope you get my nose. Not that your daddy doesn't have a simply delightful nose of his own, but his is a very manly man nose, and it might look a little strange on a little girl. Therefore, in order to avoid that awkward "growing into your features" phase, let's just hope you inherit my nose from the get-go.

I hope you like cats. Presently, there are five of them running around the house, so I hope you don't turn out to be a dog person. Not that there's anything wrong with dogs, or that you can only like one or the other but not both, but the number of cats in attendance (five) greatly exceeds the number of dogs in attendance (zero) and I just don't want you to be disappointed (and no, we're not getting a dog). Actually, I'm not too worried about this since I've never met a little girl who didn't like cats, but all the same, I thought I'd give you a heads up.

I hope you love to read. Obviously in your first few years, I will be doing all the reading for you while you just listen and look at the pictures, but my hope is that when it does come time for you to do your own reading, you'll love it as much as I do. Reading opens up a whole new magical world where anything is possible, and my hope is that you'll fall in love with all the places a good book can take you.

I hope you get the best traits from me and the best traits from your Daddy, and I hope you surpass them all. We're pretty good, but I have the feeling you can be exceptional. I want you to know now that I believe in you even now, baby girl.

I hope you love at least one sport. I'll let you in on a little secret...your mama is not very coordinated. Most sports require a little thing called depth perception, and I do not have it (although your Daddy isn't bad). But good or not, I think it's important to find an activity that gets you moving and you enjoy playing. You'll feel better, make more friends, get better grades, maintain a healthier weight, and not just zone in front of the TV all day. (Note: Your Daddy is already planning to put you in peewee hockey. Of course, you have the right to choose what sport you would like to try, and keep trying them until you find one that you love, but I'm telling you now that he's going to be pushing hard to get you out on the ice. Be warned).

I hope that the craze for Hannah Montana, the words "diva" and "princess" on clothing, Bratz dolls and Justin Bieber will be over by the time you're aware of them. I hope that whatever new fads that have taken their places are less obsessive.

I hope you have some kind of talent in music. Neither of your parents play an instrument, or sing, or read music, but in the interest of being better than we are, I thought you might enjoy the cello. (Yes, it's big and bulky, but it sounds so lovely! No? Okay, we'll talk about that one later). This one isn't a make or break...heaven knows you'll be okay if you can't carry a tune in a bucket (like your parents), but I'm saying that if you did want to take up the cello, we'd be happy to go to your concerts.

I hope you're a night person like me. Actually, I wouldn't mind if you went to bed early like your Dad, but I sincerely hope that you aren't a (gasp!) early riser. Your mama just doesn't function pre-8am, and if you're really looking for some quality time with her, let her sleep a little first. (If you find that you absolutely must get up early, please wake your daddy. He's better at that kind of thing).

I hope you are kind. I hope you see the wisdom in treating others as you would want to be treated. I hope you have a good heart, and can love freely. I'll try to help you with this as much as I can, since this will become the essence of who you are. Insides count, you know.

I hope you go easy on your old mom and dad. Remember that we haven't ever done anything like this before, so we're learning as we go too. Try to cut us some slack, especially during those terrible two years, and when potty training, and when you become a teenager. (Oh heaven help us!) We aren't always going to agree on things, but we'll always be there for you, so try to keep that in mind when I won't let you pierce your eyebrow or date that older boy with the motorcycle. (We'll talk about the purple hair later).

Lastly, I hope you know we'll always love you. From the moment I found out about you, to my last dying breath and beyond. You're someone I never knew I wanted, but now realize that I absolutely cannot live without. No matter what. We haven't met yet, but you'll always have a place in my heart. You are my precious baby girl, and I love you.

No doubt after you are born, you'll start making your own hopes and dreams for yourself. I can't wait to see what they are. But for now, maybe these can get you started.

11/28/10 A Turkey-Induced Random Thought...

Can someone explain why I've been out of high school for twelve years, but I still have dreams where I the bell rings and I can't remember how to get to my next class? Or my locker combination? Or I'm taking a final exam (usually math) and I realize I don't know how to do any of it? I get that they're insecurity dreams that symbolize feeling unprepared for something (like a new baby, perhaps?) but really? All the way back to high school? There isn't anything more recent that I can worry about?

I'd really like to outgrow these dreams...mostly because they make me feel stupid. How old do you have to be before you start dreaming about IRS audits, or the water heater needing to be replaced, or high cholesterol dreams? At least then I'd feel like an adult while my subconscious fretted.

Just a thought...

Happy Thanksgiving Ya'll!

There's turkey and gravy and dressing and mashed potatoes and broccoli casserole calling my name, but I wanted to take a quick moment to jot down the things I'm thankful for (in no particular order) because it's important to remember.

Things I'm thankful for:

  • This awesome little baby girl, who I didn't even know I could love so much, but now I can't imagine life without. I can't wait to meet her!
  • A good book.
  • The library, which feeds my insatiable book habit.
  • My family, who loves me and cracks me up on a regular basis.
  • My mom (who yes, is technically considered a part of the family, but gets her own shout out because she's been so incredibly supportive and knowledgeable and fabulous and has helped me through this pregnancy when I had NO FLIPPIN' CLUE what was happening). She goes to doctor appointments, makes all my nursery stuff, calms insecurities and indulges cookie cravings on a regular basis. This would be so much scarier without her.
  • Tony, who is the best hubby anyone could possibly ask for, hands down, even when I don't tell him enough.
  • Sonic cheese sticks. Oh my word, the cheesy goodness!
  • Sleeping in late (Which I'm appreciating now because we're about to kiss those days goodbye!)
  • The wonderful ladies I volunteer with. They are such a hoot!
  • Catching all the green lights.
  • My home, my city, my country, and the freedom that made them all possible.
  • It being 70 degrees outside for Thanksgiving. I love you warm weather! Please don't ever leave me.
  • You guys, who read and comment and write great blogs of your own. I do love spending my mornings with you.
So that's my list. What's on yours? Did I miss anything?

Thanksgiving comes to us out of the prehistoric dimness,
universal to all ages and all faiths,
At whatever straws we must grasp,
there is always a time for gratitude and new beginnings.
J. Robert Moskin

Baby Update: Week 22

22 week ultrasound yesterday, and as an added treat, we were able to use the 3D machine. Now personally, I don't really get the fascination with the 3D ultrasounds. I've never seen a picture where the baby didn't look like some kind of lumpy baked potato. (And sure enough, my little darling is no exception. Although she's the cutest little baked potato I've ever seen). On the other hand, you spend five and a half months submerged in fluid and see if you don't look a little starchy yourself.

The good news is that she's perfectly healthy and behaving herself in there. She's weighing in at about a pound now (which means that these other 9 pounds that I've gained are mine. Humph) and all her measurements are within the norm.

Another 4 or so months of cooking and my little baked potato will be all set to come out of the oven.

It's Crazy Cat Family Christmas Card Time!

Is it wrong that I'm ready for Christmas and it isn't even Thanksgiving yet? (Don't get me wrong...I'm more than ready for Thanksgiving also. Who wouldn't be ready for a holiday that makes it culturally acceptable to sit around stuffing yourself with delicious foods? Shoot, I've been ready for Thanksgiving since last Thanksgiving). But the Christmas-longing is something a bit more unusual. Usually it takes a while for me to get into my Christmas mood. (I blame the cold. Christmas I love, but it has the meteorological misfortune of always occurring when it's cold outside, and I just can't help but hold Christmas somewhat responsible for its poor choice of seasons. You've heard of that whole Christmas in July thing that car dealers try to pull out every now and then? I'm behind them 110%).

What was I talking about?

Oh right, getting in the mood for Christmas.

I suppose it doesn't hurt that I've been busy Christmas shopping. (My side is exchanging gifts at Thanksgiving this year so that we can all be together when we unwrap presents). Plus the satellite radio has started the "All Instrumental Christmas carols" channel, which I enjoy as background music. And all the TV commercials now feature people building snowmen or hanging lights or using their hemi-powered trucks to steal giant, already-decorated Christmas trees out of the ground from in front of some guy's trailer (yeah, not sure I get that one either). But you know what I'm really really excited about?

Christmas cards.

Ya'll know that we are all about the photo Christmas cards here in the House of Quirk. It started 7 years ago when Tony and I first got married, and I thought it would be just precious to have the two of us with the two cats. So we did. And even though we've changed states, and houses, and added three more cats since that first Christmas card, I've always thought that it was an awesome tradition. People love getting them from us, and we get more than a few photo cards from friends and family in return.

This year, of course, is going to be super awesome since it will be the first time most of our friends will be seeing the preggo belly. (Nothing says Merry Christmas like having a belly that resembles Santa Claus. Except my particular bowl full of jelly keeps punching me in the bladder). Anyway, in honor of the cuteness, I've spent the last several hours on the Shutterfly site, picking out my favorite Christmas card templates.

I think I've narrowed it down to these:

So these are my finalists. To see the winner, you'll just have to check your mail box.

Of course, Shutterfly has more than just the Christmas cards. They have invitations and wall calendars and photo ornaments too. And if you're a blogger (like yours truly) then you can get 50 free holiday cards just by blogging about them! (Which is a total holiday score!)

So get a Christmas-cardin'. With all this photo cheer available, I'm expecting an awesome card from you and yours this year.

See This Box of Soap? I'm Standing On It.

Ya'll bear with me. I feel a soapbox moment coming on:

For the past three days, Tony and I have been watching the nightly news reports about the TSA screening procedures. And how hard they've been trying to make them into a controversy. Oh I know, I know, that pilot complained that he was getting groped, and now the pilot's unions are advising a ban on the screenings. And Rosemary Fitzpatrick, a CNN employee, talked about how violated she felt about a pat-down after her underwire bra set off a detector. And each night, the news finds more people who give little sound bites like "invasion of privacy" and "molested at the airport" and "Extreme TSA procedures". And I get that. No one likes to be poked and prodded and looked at in a full body scanner by a stranger.

But you know what I hate worse? Terrorists blowing up the plane I'm riding in.

And given the choice between the two, I'm going for the scans and pat-downs every time.

I feel sorry for the TSA. People complained that they weren't doing enough to stop contraband items from sneaking through airports. So they tried to be more thorough. Then everyone complained that the lines were too long, so they instituted new machines and technology. But no one liked those machines because it showed them without clothes, so the TSA offered pat-downs instead. Now the searches are "too personal". Give the poor screeners a break already! I seriously doubt they really want to see you naked or pat you down. Heaven knows I wouldn't want to see the general population naked either, xray machine or no. And actually touching you as you stand there encased in the little glass box with your dingy sock feet and your pajama bottoms and ratty "traveling" sweatshirt? Let's just say that however airport screeners get their thrills, chances are it isn't happening with you. It's their job, and they're trying to be professional about it.

I figure TSA screeners have the same kind of detachment as say, your gynecologist. They're looking for things that shouldn't be there, things that they need to find to keep you safe, and if that means looking at a grainy picture of you in your underwear or brushing against your bottom during a pat down, then so be it. I'll sacrifice my dignity to keep from being blown out of the sky, and I'm certainly going to sacrifice yours.

Don't get me wrong, if one of them violates procedure and uses their position for abuse, then I'm all for an investigation and the proper reprisals. But to give them grief for doing their jobs trying to keep us safe? It is the nature of the world we live in, my friends. As long as there are people out there trying to kill me, then I want other people out there doing their darnest to keep me safe.

WW: Da Belly

Here I am at 5 months. Now personally, I think this is some pretty substantial belly, (at least enough to let me cut in the bathroom line) but maybe that's just me. I do have a slightly different point of view, I suppose.

Baby Update!

Well, we're officially 20 weeks, or 5 months, or exactly halfway though this little thing called pregnancy, so I thought I might give you an update on what's been going on lately.

And in list form, no less.

1. Before you even ask, I'm not really showing. I mean, I am if you knew what I looked like before and compared it to me now, but as for strangers on the street? No one can tell. (Which is a bummer because half the fun of pregnancy is for strangers to coo over you and lavish you with gestational attention, right?) Instead, I just look like I'm a little pudgy around the middle. Like I had a cheeseburger binge over the weekend. Completely average. Most of the time I tell myself I'm lucky. Few stretch marks. Easy to get my shape back afterwords. Less difficulty moving around. But sometimes, I'll admit, it'd be nice to be...rounder. Case in point: On Sunday night before church, I was waiting in line for the bathroom (where else? My bladder is her playground) with some man when a woman came up behind us. And she's obviously pregnant. And she sees the line for the bathroom and goes, "Oh, there's a line. I'll go to the other bathroom", and she walks away. And the guy turns to me and goes, "We should have let her go before us. She's pregnant. No wonder she has to go". And I was like, "Well I'm pregnant too!" And he just stares at me with this look like I've very suddenly claimed to be the Queen of Sheeba. And I go, "Yep! 5 months!" And he just stares. And I, feeling very desperate now because he obviously doesn't believe me but doesn't want to say anything in case I'm one of those crazy unstable people, keep rambling on and on about how I may not look it, but I am! I really am! Really! And luckily at that point the person in the bathroom came out and he went in, because I'm pretty sure in the next few seconds I would have pulled my shirt up in the middle of church to better show him my slightly bulgy stomach. (And you know that would've convinced him I was sane). So yeah. Not showing. Just call me Stealth Pregnancy.

2. Despite the definitive lack of monster belly, I have discovered that loose-fitting clothing is the most comfortable way to go. And what better way to do that than to use Tony's hockey jerseys as maternity wear? They're long, they're huge, and he's got roughly a billion of them. Plus, they're crazy comfortable. If you count them, they double my available maternity shirts, even if they don't look the slightest bit motherly. (Hey, you think that woman over there could be pregnant? Nah, she's just the Right Winger for the San Jose Sharks.) If nothing else, maybe the kid will pop out a ready-made hockey fan. That would thrill her Daddy.

3. If I do convince someone I'm pregnant, the question I get most is, What are you craving? And my answer, flat out, without a moment of hesitation, is garlic. I LOVE garlic. I cannot get enough. I'm putting garlic on EVERYTHING! I make garlic bread, garlic pasta, garlic pizza, even extra garlic on my chex mix. I put garlic in my potatoes and on chips and hamburgers. I eat garlic cheese dip. The stuff has to be oozing through my pores at this point, but I don't care. One thing is for sure...there will be no vampire babies in this house.

4. I can't really complain though. I'm feeling really good. The symptoms of the first trimester (the nausea, the cramping, the nausea, the super sniffer, the nausea) have subsided, and I'm feeling pretty much like my old, pre-incubating self. I do have a bit of a stuffy nose, but apparently that's to be expected. (So expected, in fact, that it has an official name: rhinitis of pregnancy, and about 20 to 30% of pregnant women get it). Seems weird to me that pregnancy would stuff up your nose like this, but apparently there's a ton of seemingly unrelated stuff that they've linked to being body-snatched by a tiny life-form. (Honestly, I think they just tell you it's all linked to pregnancy so you can't complain about it as much. Bleeding gums? Ewwww. Pregnancy gums? Awwww. Constipation? Yuck. Pregnancy constipation? Anything for the baby. Methinks my pregnancy nose smells a scam). But like I said, I'm good. No pregnancy gums, or pregnancy bowels, or pregnancy whatever. Just a bit of a stuffy nose, and compared to my spring allergies? It's a walk in the park. Anything for the baby.

5. Speaking of, said baby just hauled off and walloped me a good one from the inside. I first felt her moving around sporadically in week 16, but it seems like the past 3 days or so, she's been crazy active. She's a night owl (like her mama), because I usually feel her most between the hours of 10pm and midnight, when she likes to practice her can-can dancing while I'm reading in bed. Before I was pregnant, I used to think the idea of feeling something move from the inside was creepy, but now I must admit that whenever I feel it, it just makes me happy. She's there. She's active. She's going to be a Rockette. (Of course, I have the right to reverse this opinion when she gets a little bigger and using all my organs as a trampoline, but for now, I find it reassuring to know that even though I can't see her, she's alive and literally kicking.)

So that's my pregnancy update. I'm okay, she's okay, we're okay so, I think I'm gonna buy my own radio show. (Sorry, an old joke with my sister). We head to the doctor on Thursday for our official 20 week ultrasounds, which is important because that's when they do the anatomy scan to make sure all her parts are present and accounted for (like both kidneys, perhaps?). If I get any good pictures, I'll post them, and then we can all coo over them together.

And maybe perhaps then you'll let me cut in line in front of you for the bathroom.

Just Another Typical Friday

Tony took the day off of work today. At first I thought, "Oh, that's so sweet! He wants to spend a long weekend with me! Maybe go on a quick baby-moon!" but no. He and a bunch of his poker buddies have decided to use the day to take a trip out to Cherokee casino. (Perhaps they thought it would be more fun to lose their money to a casino instead of each other? I'm not sure). Anyway, I hinted strongly that I thought it might be fun for me to go also, even though I'm not a big gambler, but Tony put the kibosh on that idea pretty quickly. Grunt grunt. Guys only. Grunt grunt. Manly-man losing of money. Grunt. No women-folk allowed. (Although he did give me a hug and tell me that it wasn't because he didn't want me's just that he knew I'd hate it. The trip through the mountains would have made me car sick, I'd be bored in an instant when we arrived, and the whole place is full of cigarette smoke, which I shouldn't be around what with my "delicate condition" and all). So no poker trip for me. But I guess that's okay. He's right that I'd hate it, and this is the only time (other than hockey) that he gets to spend out on his own perusing his interests (even if that interest is donating all his money to a blackjack dealer) so I don't begrudge him that.

Meanwhile, I'm at home pursuing MY main interest, which is curling up in front of the fire and reading. I'm currently on book 3 of The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, and I must say that I LOVE it. (Technically, my library classifies them as Young Adult novels since the main character is 16 when it all starts, but I have to disagree and say that some of the violence seems a bit...graphic and dark for young adults. But what do I know?) Anyway, every year 24 children ranging from ages 12 to 18 are randomly picked in a "lottery" and sent to play in a fight-to-the-death arena for the enjoyment of the tv viewing audience (and as continuing punishment for an uprising against the government that happened 75 years ago). Think Roman Coliseum meets Survivor with a dash of Lord of the Flies thrown in. The books are not only about survival, but also attempting to start a revolution and destroy the Hunger Games once and for all. (I know, I know, I'm doing a lousy job of making it sound good, but it really is a riveting read. I was up until 3:30am finishing the second book. I could NOT put it down). Plus, you know how every now and then you'll come across a book that keeps you up at night thinking about it even after you finished it? These are in that category.

I really do need to quit reading though, because I have Christmas shopping to do. (I know!) Actually, Christmas is coming even earlier this year for the House of Quirk because we're present swapping with my side of the family at Thanksgiving (we couldn't all get together for Christmas). So that means I have roughly 2 weeks to find, order, ship, and wrap presents for my family. The good news is that by spreading the present shopping out somewhat, it makes it easier on me and my battered wallet, but the bad news is that by buying early, I'm probably missing some awesome Black Friday deals. Oh well. It's still worth it to actually be able to watch my family unwrap the gifts I got them instead of just shipping a box of presents across the country and wondering if they liked them.

So that's today. I'm out spending money on gifts, Tony's out spending money on Texas Hold'em, and I can't wait to get back to my little book by the fire to read about more children killing each other in a post-apocalyptic Lions vs Christians manner. How's your Friday?

Super Fantastic Nursery Tour

Okay, because so many of you wanted to see it, it's the official 2010 Nursery Tour! And as a bonus, I have pictures and video! (Why video? Have you ever seen those fancy real estate sites that pan around the room for you? Well, it's like that only with shaky video and weird clicking noises in the background. And a cat. You're welcome).

The official room theme is Patty Reed's Jungle Babies, which is a series of fabric designs featuring the adorable Mary the Monkey, Timmy the Tiger, Leo the Lion, Geri the Giraffe and Eleanor the Elephant. I thought animals would be a neat tie-in with Tony's zookeeper history, and I just love all their little smiling faces. (Friendly and smiling is important in a nursery. You wouldn't believe all the scary nursery animals out there! I wanted to make sure we had a nursery theme that said "We're your happy jungle friends!" rather than "We're going to eat you as soon as the light goes out!". Kids worry about these kinds of things, you know).

The other thing that you should know about this room is that because it is just fabric, Mom made EVERYTHING in here. (Well, except for the light switch cover, which I picked up on ebay). She really went to town on it. There's something like 60 different Jungle baby items in here if you count all the sheet sets she made to go on the crib. I have a list that I can email to you if you're looking for someone to sew some nursery (or any other) items for you. She's a master seamstress. (And I'll only charge a small finder's fee).

Anyway, onto the tour. We'll start with the focal point, which I think is the crib corner of the room. The crib itself is the Canton 4 in 1 Convertible Crib in Espresso, and I love it. It's very solidly built and the lines are just beautiful!

The crib contains the JB dust ruffle, giraffe patterned sheets, bumpers (we'll pull them out when baby is young and looking for ways to suffocate herself, but they'll come in handy again when she hits toddler stage and becomes a very active sleeper), assorted JB decorative pillows (also to be removed for sleeping), and roughly 6 million JB stuffed animals for company.
Oh, and I wish you could see the quilt in person to really appreciate it, because Mom quilted around all of the animals to give them a stand out 3D effect. It also has a very functional soft back side for playing in the floor.

The shelves above the crib contain some soft JB flat pillows in the shapes of the animals, and the adjoining wall holds the official Jungle Babies wall hanging, featuring the crew in all their jungle cuteness.

The dresser and chest of drawers are actually the same set that I used in my nursery 30 years ago. (Tradition! TRA-DITION!) I think they cleaned up quite nicely with new hardware and some official decopaged Jungle Baby knobs (a Mom original!). Sitting on the chest is the JB tissue box holder and JB nightlight, which I have hooked up to a small remote so that I can turn the light off and on from anywhere upstairs. Above those are excepts from the JB story book featuring the characters, which Mom framed and glued together with ribbon.

This is the changer wall. It has the changing station, JB diaper stacker, picture frames, and wall organizer (to hold powder, butt paste and all the other things that delicate baby bottoms require). The open organizer beside it will hold things like burp cloths and onesies for now, and then toys when she's older. (It isn't Jungle Babies, but it did match and it is available at Target if you're interested).

The last corner covers the window/reading area. Mom made the window valance and growth chart, as well as the lamp shade and fabric Jungle Baby book (which I am given to understand babies like to chew on). We'll put the glider/rocker in this corner when we get it, and it'll make a nice little reading/book chewing/nursing spot.

So that's it. That's the guided tour of Jungle Baby land. We're so thankful that friends and family have been so generous with making/giving/loaning things that we'll need for the new baby. We have a lot left to do before we're completely ready for her, but we're already miles ahead of where I thought we'd be. We went from a hardly used guest room to the cutest little jungle-themed nursery ever!

(And if this doesn't make her a world-famous zoologist, I don't know what will).

The Forbidden Call of the Other Side (of the Bed)

Something happened the other night that has totally altered the fabric of the universe in our house. I mean, completely changed everything. Black was white, night was day, cats were actually well behaved at 5am. It was total chaos. And now I'm not sure we can ever get back to normal.

See, Tony and I switched sides of the bed.

Maybe this is not a big deal for you. Maybe you switch sides all the time. Or maybe you sleep alone and diagonally if that's what floats your boat. But we? We do not change. Ever. No matter where we happen to be sleeping. There are RULES about these things.

You have to understand that Tony always sleeps closest to the door. Always. I told him that from the very beginning. I don't sleep closest to the door. My thinking is that if bad guys ever attack via the door, they have to go through him first. (Not that that would really make a difference, since Tony's such a heavy sleeper that the bad guys could climb on the bed and do the foxtrot on his chest and he would never even stir, but still I figure that gives me a few extra seconds to get the baseball bat ready). It's my little neurosis. I like to have a bad guy attack plan, and my plan is they have to go through someone else first. (I hear you out there. You're asking what my plan is if the bad guys come in the windows, or are already hiding in the closet? To that I say Shut up. One ridiculous paranoid psychosis at a time please). So hotel rooms, guest rooms, air mattresses in the floor. Tony always sleeps closest to the door.

The other rule is I always sleep next to the nightstand with the lamp, phone, glass of water, books, etc. That is because Tony uses the bed to go to sleep, whereas my nightly routines involve more baggage than Paris Hilton vacationing in the French Riviera. I need my book. I need a glass of water. I need a tissue. I need a spray bottle to spray the cat trying to drink my water and shred my tissues. It's all very complicated. And since our bedroom setup only has a space for a nightstand on one side of the bed, it's mine.

And this is all well and good. It's worked for us for years. Except for two nights ago. Because two nights ago we switched sides, and now I must confess that once we went through that door, we haven't been able to get back to where we were before.

See, two nights ago, one of the guys who works the night shift at Tony's company had a flat tire and was late showing up for work. And because he was late, things didn't get done that should have gotten done. And since Tony is in charge of making sure that things get done, he got called at about 3am to see what the people who were at work should do. And since the phone was on my side of the bed, that meant that I had to answer it. And pass it over to him. And turn on the light so that he could find his contact phone numbers. And sit there while he worked stuff out on a scrap of paper on the nightstand on my side of the bed.

Of course, one cannot blame Tony for this. He's just doing his job, and sometimes that job involves fixing problems in the middle of the night. But I must admit I was a little miffed when the phone rang again at 4am, and AGAIN at 5am and we went through the whole light, phone, contacts, my side of the bed routine for a second and third time. And Tony, perhaps sensing this (or maybe he was just alerted to the problem by my growling) suggested that maybe this once, for tonight, he should sleep on my side to be closest to the phone and the light and the nightstand so that my beauty sleep wouldn't continue to be interrupted. And I was just tired enough to glance at the door and just not care about bad guys. So we switched.

And it was great.

It was great because in addition to being closest to the door, his side is also closest to the bathroom. And since baby girl likes to rumba on my bladder about 40 times throughout the night, this was a real time saver not to have to stumble all the way around the bed when I got up. And it was great because even though the alarm is on my side, he's the one who uses it, so when it went off two nights ago, he just shut it off instead of me having to do it. Plus his side is closer to the window, which meant my pillow stayed nice and cool all night long.

Of course, I was sure that he'd want his side back again. We are, after all, creatures of habit. But when he mentioned that my side was incredibly comfortable and he'd slept really well over there (after the phone quit ringing anyway), I admit it gave me pause. Could we do it? Could we actually switch sides? I'd be giving up the nightstand and my water glass and reading lamp for the front line in bad guy attack, but at the same time, the idea of having toilet-front property was mighty appealing. And to not have to be the one to mess with the alarm? Switching definitely has its merits.

So I don't know. Last night we went back to our original sides, which are steady and established and I (literally) could maneuver around in my sleep, but I just can't seem to shake the thought of that new and exciting other side of the bed. It calls to me, that bad boy side of the bed. A little darker, a little cooler, a little more dangerous, but oh so alluring.

It could change bed time forever as we know it.

What Football, Zombies and Jungle Babies Have in Common

Wooboy, what a weekend! Our weekends seem to gravitate to either "we sat on the couch like sloths and did not move for 48 hours" or "we ran around doing all kinds of stuff every moment of the day until Monday rolled around and we needed a weekend to recover from the weekend".

(We're extremists. What can I say?)

This weekend I went with option number 2. My oldest and bestest buddy Nicole came in to visit, and having her in is always a hoot. I've known her since the 7th grade or so, and she was my college roommate freshman year, and even though we only get to see each other 4 or 5 times a year now, she's one of those friends where you can just pick up again where you left off without missing a beat. Those kinds of friends are worth their weight in gold.

Anyway, Nicole came in and we laughed and chatted and ate chili and I took her to Walmart, because that's just how rock star I am. (Come visit me, and I'll show you a time you'll never forget...buying a gallon of milk and some bar soap at the local walmart!) Actually, shopping with someone else (even for the mundane) turns out to be pretty entertaining. Nicole and I were standing in the middle of the aisle, sniffing body wash to find the best smelling soap for Tony (you know how you do), and I almost died laughing when Nicole sniffed too close to the bottle and got body wash all over her nose. Of course then I immediately squeezed my bottle too hard and ended up with a soap bubble up my nostril too, but what would have been a little embarrassing alone was absolutely hysterical with a friend. Plus we both were able to spend the rest of the day with our faces smelling like Dove soap for Men. (Whatever floats your boat, right?)

After walmart we headed down to Market Square for the world record attempt of having the most people dancing to Thriller at one time. I never pass up an attempt to dance like a zombie if I can possibly help it, and Nicole admitted that this has always been a life goal for her also, so of course we had to attend. When we arrived, there was a square full of zombies industriously learning the steps to the Thriller dance. Big zombies, little zombies, Grandma zombies, 4 year old zombies, bride zombies, boy band zombies, gruesome zombies and adorable zombies. Even dog zombies. They also had a booth set up where they would paint on your zombie makeup for you, and all around us I kept hearing snatches of conversation like, "I brought some extra boils...would you like some?" and "Here. Some of your bloody wound has smeared. I have some extra blood right here...let me touch that up for you". It was a hoot and a half to watch. Unfortunately, the website I checked said that the dance was at 5pm, but when we arrived at 5, they had changed the time to 7pm. (Bummer zombie). 5:00 we could have done, but the UT game was set to kick off at 7pm, so sadly we were not able to partake in the official zombie festival. (Oh, but definitely next year!) Still, we were able to stand around and watch the practice dancing for a while, and Nicole did accidentally get some zombie blood on her hand, so all was not lost.
After scouting out the undead, we headed down to the stadium to witness our beloved Volunteers take on Alabama. And while we were under no illusions about who was going to win (Alabama being ranked number 7 and Tennessee being ranked...well, in a rebuilding year), we still had a really good time. We had excellent seats, and our boys played well for the first half, so there really was something to cheer about even if we got thoroughly trounced in the second half. (In fact, we cheered so much that my throat is still a little sore today). All in all, it was fun being back there together again and cheering for the old alma mater. And win or lose, 105,000 screaming fans in orange is something to behold. (Besides, just you wait SEC. We may have a team full of inexperienced freshmen this year, but in another year or two (or three), we'll be someone to contend with once again).

On Sunday, Nicole headed back to her homestead for some annual quality Pumpkin Patch time with her son, and Tony and I dismantled the guest bed (for at least the next four or five years anyway) to make room for the crib and various other baby paraphernalia. The guest room has officially become the nursery. Guests are still welcome, of course, but you'll be sleeping on an air bed or the couch from now on (or at least until I have an epiphany and find a way to stash guests in the office or laundry room). I'm thinking maybe a murphy bed somewhere. We'll see how that works out.

Anyway, the nursery is A.DOR.A.BLE. The crib is beautiful, and we're doing a Jungle Babies theme. (I'll do a separate post on a nursery tour so that you can see several pictures). My mom did all the sewing, so she made absolutely every Jungle Babies thing in the room. (Mom is awesome. She's like, master seamstress. She's been sewing all night for weeks now, and she did everything from crib sheets to the diaper stacker to decopaged knobs for the drawers. Trust me, I'll show you, and you will be BLOWN AWAY). It's my favorite room in the house now.

So that was my weekend. Walmart, Zombies, Football, Jungle Babies. It felt a lot busier than it sounds, but it was also a lot more fun. I always enjoy a weekend where I spend most of my waking hours laughing. How was your weekend?

Hide and Seek

It's just like Where's Waldo, if Waldo was a cat hiding in your jeans drawer

What's In A Name?

Ever since finding out that we're having a baby girl, Tony and I have been on the hunt for possible names. Prior to this week, we hadn't really thought about girl names at all. (Not because we wanted a boy more, or didn't want a girl, but for some reason we automatically agreed on boy names. Girl names have just been a little harder). He said "eh" to 99% of my name suggestions, and I scrunched up my face to 99% of his. We went through baby name websites. We watched movie credits to look for possible names. Family members threw out suggestions.

Turns out that giving someone a moniker that they'll keep for the rest of their lives is HARD.

We have a couple of rules, too. No being named after exes, and no names of any pets that we know. (My mother, immediately after finding out it was a girl, suggested the name of her Yorkie. "Well sweetie, you were named after the family dog". Like that wouldn't cost me in therapy later).

There have been some surprises too. Tony and I were leaning towards the name Sydney, but when we mentioned it to the family, it turned out that my grandfather had a crazy aunt with that name. (I say crazy because apparently she stabbed her husband with a butcher knife. No one is sure if Uncle Stan had it coming or not, but nonetheless, that basically guaranteed that Sydney was out).

New rule: In addition to exes and pets, our daughter will not be named after any homicidal relatives.

So the hunt continues. Long names, short names, common names, unique names, Biblical or contemporary. It's a very important decision. Names shape your personality. (You ever met an outgoing guy named Herbert?) I want a name that will fit her. One that rolls pleasantly off the tongue. One that she's not ashamed of, or that kids can rhyme with something insulting, or that makes initials that spell something stupid. I want one that is common enough that people have heard before so she's not having to constantly correct people's pronunciation, but at the same time, I don't want her to be one of four girls in her class with the exact same name.

So we search, and trade lists of ones we like, and practice yelling them from one end of the house to the other. Good thing we still have several months to find the perfect one for her.

I'm curious. How'd you get your name? (I'm named after a girl my mother babysat when she was 12. She liked the name, so she gave it to me when I came along). Do you like your name? Do you use a nickname? Or go by your middle name? What's your name story, Interpeeps?

Thank Heaven For Little Girls

It's a girl! We're having a girl!

We just found out yesterday. Technically, the official "anatomy" scan isn't for a few more weeks, but I was in for my 16 week checkup and the technician said that it was very very obviously a girl. (Normally, they don't like to tell you this early since parts can be small and easily missed, but I poked my little monster in the head until she shifted position enough to present some very obvious girl parts to the camera. 99.9% sure, the tech said, so I'm going with that).

(And I shall call her "mini-me"). *Puts Pinkie finger up by mouth, just in case you missed the reference the first time*

I'm not going to lie. A girl is a shock. A good shock, but a shock nonetheless. I guess whenever I pictured having a baby, it was always a boy. I'm not sure why, but I've always only imagined a boy. (It wasn't that I necessarily wanted a boy over a girl...I was just sure that that's what we'd have and that was it).

A girl is good though. Tony's sister just had a girl too, and I know that they'll love playing whenever they get together. (Plus Jenny's already talking about passing along all her 0-3 month clothes that Ms. M has outgrown). And girls are sugar and spice and everything nice, right? Who can go wrong with that?

Oh my goodness, I'm going to have a daughter! It still blows me away.

Tony's thrilled, of course. And in so much trouble. She's going to have him wrapped around her little finger in no time. She's going to be Daddy's little girl, and he's not going to have any idea what hit him. I can't wait to see that.

My daughter.

The 700 Club

Guess what? This is my 700th post! (And you people are still here! That shocks and amazes me!) 700 entire posts of the serious, the mundane, the comical, the ordinary, and the individual little moments that make up my life.

Who would have thunk it?

You know, the infamous "they" say that bloggers are just digital voyeurs. They say that my generation feels the need to constantly draw attention to themselves by scrupulously recording every single thought and emotion and event that happens to them and sharing it with the world. They say we blog because we are whiny and emotionally needy.

"They" don't get it at all.

What you guys are are friends. Maybe friends that I've never physically met, or friends that live far away, but you're still friends. And blogs are just letters, telling my friends about my day, and finding out about yours in return. It's a community. My community. Of my friends.

So I want to thank you, my beloveds. Thank you for reading and commenting and sharing your lives with me. Thanks for the encouragement and the validation, and the laughs, and the thought-provoking messages that we share. I am a better person for getting to share with you, and having you share with me. Thanks for being there through 700 talks.

WW: But I Thought You Said I Was Your Baby!

We recently acquired an infant carrier for the coming addition, but I think the cats missed the point.

But I'm your baby, right?

Hey! What a great new sleeping spot! Thanks, guys!

It's Thursday, So Of Course It's Random

Ready for some randomness? You have come to the right place!

I'm seriously jonesing for some Chic-fil-a right now. Enough that I may even change out of my morning blog reading robe and actually put on enough clothes that they'll let me in the door. And yes, I'm sure there's plenty of stuff to eat here at the house that would 1) be cheaper and 2) be healthier and 3) not require a full wardrobe change, but I'm really leaning towards the "I don't care" camp. The chic-fil-a, it calls to me.

Mama needs some chicken with extra pickle on a buttered bun goodness.


Didn't I hear somewhere that pregnancy is supposed to clear up your skin and make your complexion look great? I seem to recall hearing that somewhere. (Or else I just made it up and convinced myself that I heard it somewhere else. Whichever). Either way, I'm not seeing it. In fact, I have two very lovely flashing red beacons that have just decided to time-share on my forehead. (Of COURSE you want to know about my blemishes! This kind of over-sharing is what the internet was made for!) Anyway, they're about an inch apart, and smack-dab in the middle of my head, so it looks very much like I was out stomping through the jungle with Bear Grylls and took a snake bite right between the eyes. It's a very peculiar look, and one that I'm hoping will catch on. "What? You're still doing Botox? You simply MUST try rattlesnake poison, dah-ling! One bite and wrinkles will be the least of your worries!"


Did you hear how Frito-lay is ditching the noisy Sun Chips bag? So many people complained that the company is going back to the old planet-choking bag for 5 of the 6 flavors. Only the original flavor will still be in the bio-degradable noisemakers. (Because only people who like the original want to save the planet?) Now, I admit that the crinkles were annoying and that Tony has officially banned my eating Sun chips in bed (although that may have been more about the crumbs than the noisy bag), but really? The ability to eat chips quietly trumps ecological stewardship? I have a feeling this is the kind of thing that future generations will look back on and roll their eyes about. "Yes, we live in a giant landfill now, but at least granddad was able to eat his chip quietly!" Sun chips should have made the noise a selling point, a "Crinkle for the Cause" if you will. Let everyone within a 100 mile radius know that you love the planet (and Sun Chips)! There could be bumper stickers: I crinkle because I care.


I'm thinking about cutting my hair. It is a very bad idea and I know it, but I'm thinking about it anyway. Just something to shake things up a bit, for I have been in what feels like an eternal ponytail rut. The problem is short hair does not work for me (my natural curl needs the weight to force it into submission…otherwise I end up with a little orphan Annie style ‘fro). But even though I KNOW I’m going to regret it, I’m still itching for a change. It is the siren call of sassy hair.


Alright, my lovelies (I threw that in just for you Nicole-may you be spiritual enough to accept it), the randomness has been fun but I must depart. There is cat food to purchase and stamps to procure. (And maybe some chic-fil-a in between...gotta keep my strength up, you know). It is an ever exciting life I lead.