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).