Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Smack Talking

You know how all the manicurists in the nail salon chatter amongst themselves in Korean and you always think they're talking shit about you but you're never quite sure?

Well, THEY ARE.

I went on Saturday morning to get a mani/pedi . . . the first of my pregnancy and really only necessitated by the fact that I can no longer comfortably reach my toes (I can still see them though, which is why I wanted them to be pretty). My manicurist was the girl I usually ask for, and while I'm not regular enough at this whole manicure thing to have an actual relationship with her, I've seen her enough times that we do tend to chat a bit. She asked me how far along I was (teh belleh is no longer ambiguous) and we talked about babies for a bit. Then after an exchange between her and the girl who was doing my pedicure she said "You're what, 22?". Which, REALLY FLATTERING, but no, try 30. So I tell her this and she says something to the pedicurist which sets off a stream of chattering and lots of oohs and ahhs. All very nice, of course, because the point is they all thought I looked young, even if that meant they thought I was really young AND pregnant.

Then she asks me if my boobs are real.

And I don't know how much detail I've gone into here, but let it suffice to say they've gone up two cup sizes since I got pregnant and they weren't "small" to begin with.

So, moral of the story, YES, the nail salon ladies WERE all talking shit about me being 22 and knocked up with fake boobs.

ANYWAYS.

I've finally come out the other side from the (fabulous!) (but busy!) Etsy holiday rush and lately I've been focusing on trying to put together the best Xmas possible for my family. I had most of the gift shopping and making done, but I've done a few last minute bits as well as tons of wrapping, decorating and baking. On the agenda tonight is making two loaves of my Grandma's famous Raisin Bread and, you guys, these instructions? All I'm saying is I REALLY WISH she were around to ask for clarification and if you could all cross your fingers for me for a positive Raisin Bread outcome that would be super!

Bean has been cooking along just fine. VERY kicky with the kicking lately. I'm finally starting to get used to the feeling. Everyone told me it would be like 'butterflies fluttering' and I don't know if I've just got an especially strong baby or what but I haven't felt anything that I'd call "butterfly-ish". He KICKS. Last night he was kicking so I poked him and he waited a second then kicked back . . . we went on like this for a few minutes, me poking him and him kicking me. It was so incredible to feel like I was actually interacting with him. Of course now I think he's an extra strong genius baby . . . he isn't even born yet and I'm already assigning him superpowers.



Hope everyone's holiday gear up is trucking along well!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Coming up for air

So! The holidays on Etsy have been FANTASTIC. They've also been kicking my ass, hence the relative radio silence around these parts. I made my 1,000th sale on December 6th and today, just 11 days later I'm at 1054. Those are some pretty fierce numbers, methinks, and I've got the hours logged standing in line at the post office to prove it!

Postal line bitching aside, I'm seriously grateful to all the fantastic customers who have helped to make my little shop such a success this year. Thanks guys, for the wedding in Wales you collectively paid for and for the new master and Bean's room carpet we're installing in a month or two. And thanks for the fact that you all bought SO! MUCH! this holiday season that I don't have to decide between nice new carpet or new shutters for Bean, little man gets BOTH. Not that he'll notice or care, I realize . . . but this makes me one happy mama-to-be. He's going to have a kick-ass nursery and my little shop and all my amazing customers made that possible.

I make what I like and the world likes it enough to buy it. That little fact still blows my mind and makes me feel lucky every single day.

Aside from Etsy, there has been the usual holiday chaos over her in IndieHomeEc land: preparing for the big feast which will take place at Boy and my house this year (YIKES!), researching recipes and finding ingredients, wrapping up presents and doing last minute checks to make sure we haven't forgotten anyone or anything, trimming the tree, mailing out holiday cards (110!!!) and, starting tonight, BAKING LIKE A MADWOMAN! (Not to mention attempting to do my yoga every night because I feel like a whale when I don't, trying to stop myself from buying every cute Bean thing I see and failing miserably, visiting the doctor every four weeks and you know, just generally cooking a baby.)

How are your holiday preparations going?

Friday, December 11, 2009

New "Thing"

I have developed a fondness for coin pearls. They're coin shaped! They come in yummy colors! They're pearls!

Here are the recent results of my dalliance:





Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mini Break

It is no secret around these parts that Boy and I like ourselves a good weekend getaway. We've visited Palm Springs and the Aerial Tramway, hiked Joshua Tree, took a boat to Catalina (back when we first started dating!), spent weekends in Vegas more than a few times, stayed in a Wigwam, toured Hearst Castle, took a cruise to Mexico, and had our fair share of Disneyland vacations.

When I see decent hotel rates or airfares I jump on them! And right after we got back from our wedding and agreed that we'd get annual passes to Disneyland this year, I held us a room at the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel in Anaheim. We usually go for slightly more upscale hotels (with the obvious exception of the Wigwam!), but the reviews for this place are all just phenomenal. Check it out! Turns out, I went to Disneyland on the 22nd with my good friend Tara . . .then again on the 29th with Boy's family . . .so we really didn't wind up NEEDING to take the December 5th room I booked so long ago. HOWEVER, the HoJo is so highly rated it does tend to book up and I'd been wanting to try it out . . . not to mention that our rate was all of EIGHTY SEVEN DOLLARS for the night. ANNNNDDDD I "turned" 20 weeks pregnant on Saturday which boy and I considered to be a bit of a milestone. PLUS! I was sitting on the cusp of my 1,000th sale on Etsy, which did wind up happening over the weekend. Soooo . . . all things considered, the trip wasn't strictly necessary, but it was a nicely, if accidentally, timed celebration.



The hotel did not disappoint! They provided free pirate hats on check in, so I was pretty much sold right there. But things continued to get even better when we walked in to our (huge!) room (with balcony!). They had amazing coffee (I took a sip, yes I did. LET THE FLOGGING COMMENCE!), the location was perfect and we had Mimi's Cafe next door for a fantastic pre-Disney breakfast.

I'm sure you're all anxiously awaiting my Astro Blasters scores and, while I was sure the 398,00 I scored over Thanksgiving was a total fluke I was THRILLED to score just over 300k on the first round of this most recent trip! I then went on to score 44k and 77k. Hrumph. So it seems I'm REALLY GOOD at Astro Blasters, but only sporadically, which kind of makes it more fun, I think.

Boy and I also did some shopping for the Bean:



Had ourselves a (scared but) grand old time on the Ferris Wheel:



Ate ice cream for lunch:



And took a fairly ill-advised turn on the Astro Orbiter (Preggos are allowed to ride, but they should issue warnings about how dumb we look trying to hoist our girth in to and out of the rocket.)



All in all a very fun, very worthwhile trip. I can't help thinking that trips like these will be harder to take once Bean makes his appearance . . .then again, I can't help thinking how much fun he'd have on one. I lost track of how many times Boy and I said "Oh my gosh, Bean would totally flip out over this" during the course of the trip. I know I've technically got him with me all the time (I FEEL YOU KICKING NOW, BEANAGE!), but I still can't wait to show him the world on the outside.

Monday, December 7, 2009

How do you get your protein?

There's this weird misconception in the US that protein only comes from meat. Especially now that I'm pregnant, I get the protein question ALL THE FREAKING TIME. So, by way of example, I submit our dinner from the other night, Quorn Cacciatore:



- 1 package Quorn brand Naked Cutlets, heated in the microwave and cut into chunks
- 1 green pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- big handful of fresh oregano, chopped
- 1 large (28oz) can of diced tomatoes
- better part of a 2 cup bag of shredded skim mozzerella
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 a package of whole wheat spaghetti


* In a large cast iron skillet, sautee onions, peppers and garlic in olive oil until beginning to soften.
* Meanwhile, prepare pasta and preheat oven to 375.
* Add Quorn, diced tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper to skillet and let simmer on stovetop for about 10 minutes.
* Top skillet contents with cheese and place skillet in oven for 5 minutes or so, until cheese is melted and bubbly.
* Serve over pasta.

Makes 4 servings (3 if you are pregnant and could eat a house) totaling 134 grams of protein. So, depending on whether you go for big servings or small ones, that is 33 or 44 grams of protein per serving.

A Big Mac contains 25 grams of protein.

Case closed.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Husband Assistance

HEY! BOY! LOOK HERE! (Parents too)

My holiday list is as follows:

La Vanilla The Healthy Fragrance Mini Roller-Ball Set

What is better than a new perfume? FOUR NEW PERFUMES.

Henri Bendel Candle in Firewood

I looooveeee candles. Especially woody smelling ones.

Have It Sweet's Fleur de Sel Caramels

Pregnancy cravings . . . activate!

BabastudioPrague's The Penny Farthing. Three way messenger bag.

This bag has been in my Etsy Favorites for-EVER and I think it would make a spectacular diaper bag.


Be Maternity Over The Belly Leggings in Black (Small)
Admittedly, not so glamorous. But they'd really help me stretch my maternity wardrobe and the over the belly panels are the most comfortable, in my opinion.

Crabtree and Evelyn La Source Body Lotion



Recently got a hand cream tube in this scent and I NOW WANT EVERYTHING TO SMELL LIKE IT. So body lotion would be perfect.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thanksgiving Festivities

So much with the festive, right?! I had a marathon of a Thanksgiving weekend.

My husband's mom was in town and we had the big meal on Thursday at my brother in law's house with my parents, both of my husband's and both of his siblings:



On Friday I started off the day with Smitten Kitchen's Pumpkin Waffles which were DIVINE and adored by all SEVEN PEOPLE who I made them for (except for my dad who suddenly and inexplicably won't touch pumpkin). Then, on my suggestion, we dragged everyone out to Hollywood to see Disney's A Christmas Carol in 3D at the El Capitan. FORTUNATLEY, for me who suggested the outing, the movie was spectacular. Far darker and more interesting than I'd hoped it would be and seeing it in such a huge, historic theater was tons of fun.

Saturday! I had a craft day planned with my sister in law and mother in law. My SIL and I worked on makeup bags, earrings and flower pins as holiday gifts for our friends while my MIL worked on a stocking for me to match the one she made for my Boy when he was small (awwww, right?!). I had both of my sewing machines out in the living room, the ironing board set up by the big window and blankets on the floor for us to sit on while cutting the PILES and SCADS of fabric and ribbon strewn around the room. We made a HUGE mess and had a TON of fun. Also ate the better part of a box of Peppermint Jo Jo's and watched Elf, which contributed tremendously to the PARTY! atmosphere.


Regular readers can probably guess what we did on Sunday. YEP, Disneyland. We went with my MIL, SIL and her boyfriend and a great time was had by all. We hit up all the usual suspects: Small World Holiday, Pirates, Mansion, Star Tours (preggo sat that one out), Peter Pan, the train and ASTRO BLASTERS on which I achieved the following astounding, and let's be honest, FREAKISH feat:


Boy and I are going back to Disneyland this Sunday so WE'LL SEE whether that score was a fluke (and I highly, highly doubt it wasn't). Meanwhile, I'm looking for a frame to put the photo up in the condo, obvs.

Hope your Thanksgiving was festive and fun!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Like I won the freaking lottery

So, yes, yes, I'll go over Thanksgiving and the myriad of fun things we did, but MUCH MORE IMPORTANT THINGS HAVE HAPPENED in the time between my last post and now, so I'll start with them:

MY BABY BEAN IS A BOY!!!


A perfectly formed, perfectly sized and perfectly adorable little boy.

And you know what else? I can feel him kicking. I felt the first kicks last Monday morning while still in bed. I didn't want to say anything right away because it isn't like I've got lots of experience in the baby kicks department, but I felt one little tap on my left side, followed by two more quick taps and I was pretty darn sure they were Bean related.

I had been waiting to feel the "fluttering" everyone describes and honestly? Never did. I felt kicks. Then on Thanksgiving day, at dinner, Beanages started up kicking again and my mom just happened to be sitting next to me so I grabbed her hand and SHE FELT HIM TOO! Over the next few hours and days, Boy felt him (has a few times now!) as did my mother in law and sister in law.

I felt Bean banging around in there before my big ultrasound yesterday, and when the doctor commented on how active Bean was it was a nice confirmation for me that, YES! I have been feeling movement!

We saw a few somersaults, a lot of hand waving, and, you know, THE GOODS. Which were definitively BOY SHAPED. He also did a fair bit of grimacing and wiggling away from the ultrasound wand. Methinks he isn't a big fan of being poked and looked at.

Things have been crazy good lately. My baby is healthy, I'm feeling great. My husband has been a true champ and has reminded me more or less daily why I married him. My Etsy shop has been doing spectacularly and I'm trucking right towards my 1,000th sale (hoping that will happen by year's end!). There's the small matter of how sometimes when I sneeze I pee . . . but that's a minor inconvenience in the face of so much HAPPY. Things are good . . . really, really good.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Habitat for Humanity

I've wanted to do a Habitat for Humanity build pretty much forever. So it figures that the firm I work for would sign up for one (All firm! All Friday! Busses, lunch and swanky porta-potties provided!) smack in the middle of my pregnancy. CLEARLY, certain things were going to be off limits for me: heavy lifting, climbing, scaffolding and anything involving chemicals or paint. I spent the week before the build moping around and thinking I was doomed to sit in a corner being all "pregnant" and "restful" while everyone else had fun.

I was SO FREAKING WRONG. Happily, happily wrong.

There was plenty for me to do. The volunteer team leaders were totally understanding and willing to help me find jobs that were appropriate for me and Bean. I started out the day on a team assigned to staple wire mesh over ventilation holes in what will be the attic of the duplex we were working on (I did climb a ladder (bad preggo!) but only 3 steps worth). Once we were finished with that task, my group moved on to some painting and I and another volunteer were assigned to another task: building a tent for the work area. The site manager basically showed me a pile of connectors and aluminum poles (and a METAL SAW!) and said HAVE AT IT! I had such a great time figuring out how to put the thing together and enlisting a large group of my coworkers to help hoist the tent and finish off the project.


At lunchtime, a woman who will be moving into her own Habitat house in a few weeks spoke to us. It made the whole experience so much more rewarding to hear her story and know that we were helping families like hers, in however small a way.


After lunch joined a team working on framing a new duplex. The foundations were laid and we were building a frame for the first wall. There was lots of hammering to be done, and I even got to try my hand at the fancy metal saw! By the end of the day my coworkers had lifted the wall into place (preggo skipped that step) and we all signed the beams before heading home.

I had so much fun working on the site and was amazed at the extent to which the team leaders just TRUSTED US with power tools. Even more so, to the extent which we proved WORTHY OF TRUST with power tools! The sense of accomplishment we left with was just off the charts. The word is, the firm will be volunteering for a build every year from now on . . . I can't wait for next year's!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fleur de Lis Ring

Now, honestly guys? Yes, I have taken a silversmithing course and YES I am capable of making things correctly and perfectly HOWEVER the course I took was in a real live workshop with power tools and rolling mills. Also: I AM LAZY. Which all adds up to mean that the pieces I produce at home are often made pretty quickly and in a "just throwing this together for fun" fashion rather than "OMG MUST BE PERFECT BECAUSE MY TEACHER IS WATCHING" way. And in the end? I think that works out. I like for things to look beat up, old, imperfect . . . the whole theme of my Etsy shop is upcycling things that are old and rusty.

To that end, I'm pretty fond of wonky bezels, oxidized sterling and pieces that come out looking like a Viking could've worn them. Like this one:





I made the band by stamping a strip of silver with a fleur de lis metal stamp (and a hammer!) and paired it with a bezel set onyx with an oversized back plate. I finished the piece off by oxidizing the whole thing, then polishing or a bit of shine and dimension. The whole ring took about an hour and a half to make.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Second Trimester Extra Energy . . . Going Strong!

You guys, we got SO MUCH done this weekend. Like, it is almost worth breaking it down into several blog posts. You know what? I WILL. But I'm still going to give you the overview all at once:

1) New side tables for our living room! Boy and I have a sofa and a loveseat set at a right angle to each other. For the space in between, we've been meaning to find a side table but figured we could hold off until something struck us. Over the weekend, we went to CB2 to use a store credit we had lying around and found THESE!:


They're actually stools, which is uber convenient for when we have lots of people over (Christmas Day Dinner, anyone?) and I absolutely LOVE the beat up, reclaimed wood they're made of. They're super solid and sturdy yet marred and marked up in a beautifully aged way.

Also, on our CB2 rampage, we picked up a set of 8 of these gorgeous, tall drinking glasses and four of these little guys for the Scotch Tasting night we were hosting that evening . . .

2) Yes, I realize that I can't currently taste Scotch. HOWEVER, pregnant ladies do have an excellent sense of smell so I contributed to the evenings festivities by smell-rating all of the Scotch varieties everyone else tasted. I also made cheese and onion pasties. And drank sparkling cranberry juice.

3) On Sunday morning I smithed a new sterling ring that I'm really proud of . . . and will show off later!

4) Then on Sunday afternoon boy and I went out with my parents to look at carpeting for our and Bean's bedrooms and for paint options for Bean's room. Did you know that decent carpet costs as much as a car? BECAUSE NOBODY ADEQUATELY PREPARED ME FOR THAT.

5) Sunday evening I made THREE Christmas presents, which of course I'm not going to post here just yet but which came out really cute and bring me one little step closer to finishing up the Christmas gift prep. I'm about 75% done! HOORAY!

6) And I finished off the weekend by tinkering with one of my favorite Smitten Kitchen recipes. The yellow squash my market had last week looked absolutely pitiful, so I picked up a few gorgeous zucchini thinking with a few tweaks, I could come up with a Winter version of this recipe (is zucchini a winter veggie? I DON'T EVEN KNOW, but the zucchini I picked up looked glorious and the yellow squash was all white and knobby looking). ANYWAYS, I subbed the green onions for shallots, the thyme for rosemary and the squash for zucchini and everything turned out marvelously.

Somewhere in there I managed to finish a book as well. My reading tastes have gone wayyyy downhill since I got pregnant. It is either childbirth and child development or really, really light and fluffy stuff. Sometimes both at once; and I can't even begin to describe the kind of bizarre dreams I come up with after reading 20 pages on breastfeeding followed by 20 on The Loch Ness Monster.

Boy and I have also gotten our feet wet in the search for a daycare center for Bean. Probably a blog post in itself, but for not let it suffice to say THE VAST AND EXPANSIVE RANGE, OMG! In everything: price, quality, facility . . . I'm so glad we started hunting early because I have a feeling we're going to have to see pretty much every available option before we'll feel prepared to make a decision on where we want Bean.

Hope everyone had a nice and productive weekend!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bean Updates

So! I had a great doctor's visit last night. Brought my mom with me so she could hear Bean's heartbeat and also because I knew they'd be drawing blood for the AFP screening and I am A BIG FAT BABY when it comes to drawing blood. It isn't a pain thing, needles just creep me out. They're morbid and freakish and bizarre and just EUGH!!!

Frankly, I'm not convinced I should have consented to the AFP screening. It is a sketchy test with a high incidence of false scary results and I don't want to be coerced into an unnecessary amnio on the basis of a crummy test. HOWEVER, Boy thought I should get it and since I was so on the fence about the whole thing, I went ahead and followed his gut instinct.

ANYWAYS, the blood letting portion of my visit went pretty smoothly and I actually was offered and accepted a Swine Flu vaccine (!!!). Yes, yes, I know this is controversial and it is up to each of us to make our own decisions for ourselves (and our beans, as applicable). I've read the research and I've decided that the Swine Flu vaccine is no less safe than the seasonal vaccine that pregnant women have been given for years. While I'm not a big fan of extra medication or medication for no reason, I feel that the benefits outweigh the risks in my own personal case. I work in a large office, live in a large, crowded city and have Bean to think about as well as myself . . . whether coworkers or others stay home when they're sick is totally outside my control. Getting the shot to protect us WAS within my control. So I chose to go for it.

DECISIONS, DECISIONS, with this whole pregnancy thing, no? Craziness!

My doctor's visit was the last one of the day and since the doctor had to have my mom and I wait for a bit (seriously though, not even that long. 10 minutes maybe?) he decided to compensate by doing a quick ultrasound on a mini, portable machine. So, OMG YOU GUYS I GOT A BONUS ULTRASOUND!!! So! Freaking! Exciting! I don't have printouts or anything since it was just a portable machine but we saw the whole Bean! Arms, legs, head, beating heart and all. The doctor said he couldn't tell the gender, but he also said he wouldn't have told me because Boy wasn't there. Not to worry though, I'll know soon enough! I was told to go ahead and schedule my Level II ultrasound (the big, gender one!) for 19 weeks, a full 2 weeks earlier than I expected to be scheduled.

Um, SCORE!

So, REALLY NOSY QUESTION: What is the proper doctor's office pee protocol? Like, HOW MUCH PEE do you provide? Half cup full? Just an inch? A centimeter? HOW COME NONE OF THE BABY BOOKS COVER THIS?

And I'll sign off with that thought as well as a recent belleh photo:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Random Rambling

* I took a trip to the office kitchen and saw that our Halloween candy bowl now contains a) a Dum Dum, b) a Starlight Mint and c) a blue Jolly Rancher. We should really just toss the candy and put it out of its misery, right?

* Which reminds me of the time my parents and I were on a train from York to London and we got stuck for HOURRSSS due to "leaves on the rails". You'd think trains could just GO OVER THE LEAVES and all, but you'd be wrong. So, of course, since this leaf situation has been stewing all day, there are like a million people crammed into this one train which is stuck on the rails in the middle of nowhere (with sheep). My dad and I managed to score seats but only in the "Quiet Car" where no cell phones or loud conversations are allowed. About an hour in to the delay we pool our coins and I go off to the cafe car for some crisps. When I get there I am told that they are sold out of everything but Polo Mints and Champagne. I report this back to my dad which OF COURSE, since it is hilarious and since we are in the Quiet Car, prompts a fit of uncontrollable, side splitting laughter on both our parts. We nearly got kicked off that train to hang with the sheep outside.

* I realize those two thoughts are tenuously related.

* But it is FRIDAY tomorrow, people! And I am getting a little antsy over here!

* I have a wedding to go to this weekend. Anyone want to take bets on whether any of my party dresses will fit?

* I am mostly worried about the boobs.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Jumping on the preparedness train

So, as I hinted yesterday, I want to try natural childbirth. It is something I've been thinking about, in the back of my mind, pretty much forever. I've just always felt a) that I must be capable if women have been delivering without drugs since the dawn of humanity and b) that doctors and scalpels are SCARY.

Let me make this clear from the get go: I am opting to try natural childbirth mostly from a position of wanting to avoid scary doctors and their scary knives. The concept of a C Section freaks me out FAR MORE than the concept of a painful 36 hour labor.

Having said that, let me also make it clear that I have a VERY healthy respect for the fact that I have no idea what I'm getting myself into. I've never been in labor, obviously, and by many accounts I've been told it is going to be a million times more painful than I can imagine.

I'm going into this with an open mind. I do have a birth plan and I do have definite opinions on how I want things to go. I also understand that at the end of the day, a large portion of the process is up to Bean and I have no way of predicting how he is going to handle labor and delivery. He could be breech. He could come early. He could be HUGE. I just don't know, and because of that I haven't imposed any rigid "rules" on myself.

If I find myself in an extraordinarily difficult or long labor, I will accept an epidural. If Bean is in distress, I will accept the possibility of a C Section. If I leave that hospital with a healthy baby then I DID IT RIGHT. Regardless of what my ideal may be and how the actual experience may differ from my ideal.

I'm not going into this blind. I've started to do my research, and I know I have much more to learn. I've read "Your Best Birth", "Ina May's Guide To Childbirth" and watched "The Business of Being Born". I've also got a copy of "Spiritual Midwifery" in my to-be-read que, and I'm open to suggestions for more reading and viewing (hint! hint!). I know that I've barely cracked the tip of the information iceberg. I have been doing prenatal yoga almost every night and have been paying special attention to my breathing, and to how my breathing affects my body. I've been feeling out the doctors at my OB practice to determine how open they are to the concept of natural childbirth, and how supportive I can expect them to be. I'm doing my best to prepare for this experience, and to be realistic about what I'm getting into.

I've made certain decisions already that I feel will help up my odds of delivering naturally, or at the very least avoiding a C Section. I will not be induced. I understand that if I am extraordinarily late I will be pressured to induce, and, if that happens, I am determined to try natural induction methods before chemical methods. I will avoid Pitocin at all costs. I will flat out refuse Misoprostol / Cytotec, whatever the circumstances. This is not to judge anyone who has taken the induction route, only to say that I've seen the evidence that induction leads to a higher incidence of epidurals and C Sections, and that evidence has convinced me to avoid it.

The hardest person to convince of all this? Boy. He started out saying "I just don't want to watch you in pain for 6 hours". Of course, I laughed at him and told him WE SHOULD BE SO LUCKY to have a 6 hour labor. The next time he said it, he was up to 12 hours. Then 18. He is starting to see that I don't want to do this for egotistical reasons. No, I do NOT think that they'll send me home with a medal along with my baby if I pull this off. My main goal is to avoid unnecessary medication and intervention in order to have the safest experience and recovery for Bean and for myself.

And that, blogfriends, is where I stand.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bits

Today, there will be bullet points.

But sharpen up your pitchforks, ladies, because tomorrow it is going to GO OFF. I'm working on a post about natural childbirth. YOU'RE WELCOME FOR THE WARNING. I've been reading a lot about it and I've formed a few opinions and I'm going to express them, right here on this blog. I'll be jumping into the deep end of the pool, so to speak . . . as I know this is one of those hot button topics, like vaccines! And breastfeeding! And going back to work!(PS: I have opinions on all those things too. My little blog is growing up! It just may stir up some controversy after all.)

Today, however, I'm going to keep it light around here:

* I'm doing a giveaway via StyleLush! Head over there to enter to win a free pair of coin earrings or a free coin bracelet . . . winner's choice!

* Last night, because I am fourteen inside, I went to Bath and Body Works to buy a stash of their new Twilight Woods stuff. Yes, because it has the word "Twilight" in the name. SHUT UP! I tried their new Winter Formula Shower Mousse, which is nice and a fun alternative to soap, but nothing groundbreaking in my opinion. I also got a tube of their newly reformulated Body Cream, which I have to say kinda blew my mind. I love how Bath and Body Works creams smell (you don't even need perfume!) but they've always been kind of irritating and not the most moisturizing thing out there. This new formula is actually a huge improvement. It contains some of the same ingredients (milk proteins, for one) that are in my favorite splurge body cream and, while it isn't quite as good as the splurge, it is a reasonable alternative for everyday. So, consider this a good ol' virtual pat on the back for B&BW! Well done, guys.

* I posted this on Flickr as well, but in case anyone didn't see it there, I thought I'd post it here too. I'd hate for anyone to miss THREE MINUTE MICROWAVE CHOCOLATE CAKE. Yep. Seriously. I printed the recipe ages ago and had it tucked in the back of my recipe binder thinking I'd NEVER try it because, seriously, like that bs is going to work, right? Then one day last week I went to the bank and there were photos of CAKE everywhere. Then my husband IM-ed me that they were having CAKE at his office for someone's birthday. And did you guys catch the part about how I'm pregnant? I wanted cake so badly I could've ripped my eyeballs out. I pulled out the recipe and to my shock and delight, a few minutes later I was eating gooey chocolate cake. Recipe reprinted below (I want to give credit where it is due, but I can't find the link where I originally printed it from! The same recipe can be found here.)

1 Coffee Mug
4 tablespoons flour (plain flour, not self-rising)
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil (I used canola)
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (the recipe says optional, but DO THIS! They get all gooey and melty and fantastic.)
Small splash of vanilla

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well.
Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.
Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla, and mix again.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed! (Or, just use a really big mug like I did)

Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.

So, who's having cake tonight?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!!!


So I'm decked out today in my FIVE DOLLAR Sookie Stackhouse costume. You heard me right!

Jeans and Sneakers: Already had, obvi.
White Tee from Forever 21: $3.50
Iron on transfer paper: Had in my stash already
Green fabric for apron: 1/4 yard at 4.99 a yard, $1.25
Green thread and ribbon to make apron: Already in my stash
Fake Blood: $1.99 at Target, BUT THEY FORGOT TO RING IT UP! So, free!

So far only ONE person at work has guessed who I am (WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?! WHAT DO YOU ALL DO ON SUNDAY NIGHT?!), but whatevs. I LIKE my costume, so there :)

Last night Boy and I made Jack Skellington cupcakes. I made a double batch of my usual chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese icing. We (and by "we" I mean "BOY BY HIMSELF") decorated the cupcakes with black glitter icing to look like Jack Skellington. DOPE! They came out adorably and I'm so happy to have figured out my husband has mad cake decorating skills. We had so much fun doing these together! We ended up with 3 dozen cupcakes . . . 12 for my office, 12 for his and 12 for an event this weekend.

So, in related and probably obvious news, that mythical second trimester burst of energy has ACTUALLY HAPPENED TO ME, OMG, HOORAY! I have a mental to do list every night, which I almost never get all the way through. Here is an sample list:

1. Tell husband X, Y and Z stories from the day
2. Do 40 minutes of yoga
3. Bubble bath! Read!
4. Make something nice for dinner
5. Watch Colbert and Daily Show with husband
6. Oxidize a pile of metal findings
7. Make 10 pieces for the ol' shop
8. Read more!

My lists are AMBITIOUS, YO! Let's also consider that I'm not home from work until 6:45 or 7. So we're talking dinner around 9pm and the rest after. Just a few weeks ago, when I was only making it awake until 10:30 every night, you can imagine how far down my lists I'd get. I was lucky to fit in dinner before passing out. During this last week I've managed to finish EVERY SINGLE THING on my list each night. Including really ambitious stuff like "Silversmith and wrap a friend's birthday present", "Try out my new metal stamping tools" and "End the night by watching The Great Pumpkin whilst eating popcorn".

SERIOUSLY, you guys, I would be quite happy to remain 3 1/2 months pregnant FOREVER. Except for the part where, you know, I do want to meet Bean eventually. And dress him up in silly hats. And nosh on his baby chub. And all that :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More Cooking, More Questions

When Boy and I were up in Tehachapi we had an amazing dinner at this Latin restaurant near my father-in-law's property. The boys got cuban sandwiches (some concoction of pork in various forms and bbq sauce, it seemed) and I had truly spectacular veggie tacos. I'm always on the lookout for meals that I can pop in the oven and let cook while I work out (Preggo Yoga DVDs!) and this one fit that bill perfectly.

I chopped up a sweet potato, a carrot and a zucchini, drizzled them with olive oil and sea salt and set then, covered in foil, to roast at 350. When I was done with my yoga, I took the foil off the pan, cranked the heat a bit and chopped up some pico de gallo, slivered some green cabbage and doctored a can of black beans with green onions, cumin, oregano and red pepper flake. We ate them with blue corn tortillas.

They came out just perfectly, were really healthy and totally work as "the kind of dinner we can let cook with minimal supervision then eat after we work out" (a category also populated by such favorites as: "baked potatoes with stuff on them", "casseroles" and "big pots of soup").

Speaking of workouts . . . any pregnancy workout DVD recommendations out there? I've got Gabrielle Reece's Complete Fit and Healthy Pregnancy, which I liked a lot in the early months but now seems to require a bit more balance and coordination than I find I have anymore. I also have Prenatal Vinyasa Yoga Short Forms, which I only just started using but feels like a killer workout and is super convenient in that I can pick 15, 30 or 45 minute programs as time allows.

We Went Somewhere (Hint: Not Disneyland)


Boy's dad owns a piece of property in the mountains of Tehachapi, about an hour and a half drive from Los Angeles. It FEELS however, as though it were a MILLION AND A HALF hours from LA. There are trees and clear air and at night we could see SO MANY STARS. Like, woah, with the stars.

We went up there on Saturday and did a little (very light) hiking, cut some fire wood to bring home (Boy and his dad did, I "supervised") and messed around a little with Boy's dad's night vision (!) scope on our way home.

We also found time to take a shot of teh belleh, which is expanding at a mind boggling pace.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I Cooked Something!

Something worth posting and not a baked potato with beans and cheese (shut up!) or vat of rice krispies treats (I mean it, be quiet). Bean is becoming more and more cooperative and allowing me to Eat! Actual! Food! On occasion. Vegetables other than potatoes, even! Good ol' Bean.


Baked Potato and Corn Chowder

- 3 medium sized russet potatoes, rubbed in olive oil and sea salt and set in a 425 degree oven to bake for an hour
- 3 tblsp butter (I used Kerrygold)
- About 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 sweet onions, diced
- 4 large carrots, scraped and diced
- 1 celery heart, leaves and all, sliced
- 2 red bell peppers, diced
- 1 or 2 leeks, cleaned and sliced into half moons (If you have preggo brain and forgot the leeks, no need to get all apocalyptic about it. The soup will be fine without them.)
- 8 cups water and your favorite stock powder, or 8 cups stock
- 3 cups milk (I used 1%)
- 1/2 lb frozen white corn
- 1 can creamed corn
- 1 cup of shredded white cheese (I used a combo of white cheddar and Dubliner)
- At least 1 tblsp cracked black pepper
- 2 sliced green onions


* While potatoes are baking, dice up veg and saute in a dutch oven or stockpot with butter and salt until onions are translucent but not browned (10 mins or so)
* Add stock/water and milk, frozen corn and creamed corn and simmer until potatoes are done
* Slice baked potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop potato flesh into soup pot
* Stir in black pepper and 3/4 of cheese
* Turn off soup and let rest
* Meanwhile, top potato skins with remaining cheese, broil for a few minutes then garnish with green onions
*** Makes 6-8 bowls of soup ***


Thanks to everyone who responded on the caffeine front. My body is telling me to give it up and I certainly listen when my body tells me it NEEDS HALLOWEEN CANDY, so I really should listen in this case too. I bought myself a nice box of Decaf Irish Breakfast Tea yesterday and made myself a batch of sun tea with lemon. I chugged it all evening and still slept soundly. I've always thought that decaf was sort of pointless, but HOORAY FOR DECAF. I have realized it does indeed deserve a place on store shelves.

Today's minor freakout: When the hell do I take my belly ring out?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Bullets

SOMEBODY is cranky and tired and pregnant and had a little too much rock and roll last night, so instead of a comprehensive, nicely composed post you're getting bullet points. You're welcome.

- The other night Boy was helping me take the groceries up from my car and he said "Oh! Wait! You've forgotten a box of Cheerios in your front seat!" and I said "LEAVE THOSE THERE THEY ARE MY CAR CHEERIOS THEY LIVE THERE!". Yep. Car Cheerios. They're a lifesaver whenever I'm violently hungry and/or barfy and stuck in traffic.

- Last night, while driving home, I managed to get well and truly lost at the intersection of a street I used to live just off of (Sunset) and one I used to live on (Benedict Canyon). I thought up unitl then I'd been escaping pregnancy brain pretty nicely, BUT NO! APPARENTLY NOT!

- I think I should probably just give up caffeine completely. I was never huge on it . . . a cup of black tea every morning in the car, sometimes a second at the office and a cup of coffee each weekend morning. Sometime around 6 weeks black tea started turning my stomach so I switched to herbal tea in the mornings. I gave up my weekend coffee shortly thereafter (I was drinking teeny 4oz cups, if at all, at that point). Now my only indulgence is the occasional iced tea or Coke, but I find even those tiny amounts affect me PROFOUNDLY. I find myself up all night and suffering withdrawal headaches the day after. I do appreciate that an iced tea can help me combat fatigue enough to get through an especially long day, but I'm just not sure it is worth it anymore. Thoughts? What are you planning to do or what did you do during your pregnancy(ies)?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Meet The Bean

Dear Internet:

I have been totally holding out on you. Like, shamelessly. I have been pregnant for THIRTEEN WHOLE WEEKS (and change) and I haven't made one little peep about it. How did I manage such a stunning feat of self control? Well, I'll tell you: I've been writing about it THE WHOLE FREAKING TIME and saving the resulting bits in DRAFT MODE rather than posting them. Heh!

So, without further ado, an oversharing account of my pregnancy thus far including such tasty little morsels as:

How I Found Out!
The Vomitiousness That Is Orange Juice!
- and -
Really, Boobs?! Are You Freaking Serious?!

**************

Saturday, August 1: Boobs killing me. Attend performance of Spamalot whilst Busting! Out! Of! My! Dress!

Wednesday, August 5: Veggie burgers! Veggie burgers are the best food ever! I COULD EAT NOTHING BUT VEGGIE BURGERS ALL WEEK and then I'd die happy. Cannot wait for our Disneyland vacation because THEY HAVE THE BEST VEGGIE BURGERS THERE! Consume 2 boxes in a span of 3 days. Make special mid-week trip to the store for additional veggie burgers.

Thursday, August 6: As boobs still killing me, buy no wire bras for the express purpose of SLEEPING IN.

Sunday, August 9: Bitter chocolate!!! 85% dark!!! NOM! Assume PMS. Buy maxi pads.

Monday, August 10: Period is due on the 13th. If I take a test now, there is an 83% chance it will be accurate. Pee on stick. Stick says no. Cry. Refuse to go see bands that night as we'd planned. Spend $40 online at website called 'Baby Hopes'. Go to bed early.

Tuesday, August 11: Explicitly tell my mother that I am not pregnant.

Thursday, August 13: GUYS! Miscalculated date period due. DUE FRIDAY NOT THURSDAY. Meaning tested in the 58% accuracy zone instead of 83%. Very silly mistake to have made, but obviously am not pregnant. Buy a bottle of wine on the way home.

- Later that evening -

Pee on stick so that I can drink said wine with a clear conscience. Sit on bed with husband looking at books while stick develops. BASICALLY IGNORE STICK COMPLETELY FOR FIVE MINUTES. Pick up stick, almost as an afterthought. Wonder why there are three letters in the word on stick's digital display. Dumb stick misspelled "no". Heh . . . wait. Why is there a plus sign on stick? Commence flapping wildly. Husband totally confused. Thrust peed-on stick in his general direction. His words: "Shut. Up. Go pee on another."

OF COURSE I AM OUT OF PEE.

Manage a pitiful amount in a cup. Put every test we own (three [3]) in cup. All positive.

Line tests up on bathroom counter. Photograph. Check every hour or so to make sure all are still positive. Shout updates to husband for remainder of evening.

**************

File under things they do not tell you (although in this case I think D-crazy DID attempt a warning at one point): So you think because you are pregnant you'll escape your monthly pain and suffering for a while? PFT! You will have cramps FOR THE WHOLE NINE MONTHS (I am assuming, based on 2 weeks experience). Dismal and unexpected development.

**************

Oh, hai, headaches! And constant peeing! Happy 5 weeks to us!

**************

I am 5 weeks, 3 days pregnant and currently wearing my pants unbuttoned. ALREADY. Not "showing" per-se just So! Freaking! Bloated! At this rate it will be a miracle if I can keep the news to myself for 7 more weeks. And if my belly doesn't give it away, my boobs will. They will need their own ZIP CODE if they get any bigger.

**************

I have reached the stage where no food whatsoever sounds appealing to me. I went thorough a thing last week where all I wanted was orange juice. Polished off a half gallon in a weekend. Bought TWO more half gallons at Trader Joes. By the time I got the new OJ home, I had decided it was Liquid Satan. I could picture it sloshing around in my belly all acid-y and REVOLTING. I HAVE TO STOP WRITING ABOUT IT BEFORE I PUKE.

Quite like pineapple though. For the moment.

**************

Here's the thing about morning sickness (for me) (so far): It isn't so much that I'm going to puke as it is that NOTHING sounds edible. In the process of trying to figure out just one item that I *could* conceivably eat, I have to consider and reject at least 15 options of variable unsuitability. That process . . . is GAGWORTHY.

Lunchtime is a minefield. I could get a burrito? GAG. Or a salad? RALPH. Maybe a nice piece of pizza? VOMIT. And so on and so forth until I finally decide on ONE! miraculous food that I think I could stomach (i.e.; peas and brown rice, an entire bag of Baked Lays potato chips, etc.). By the time I actually get to eat anything I'm feeling weak and frail from the parade of revoltingness I've just played out in my head.

Not that these food aversions have done anything whatsoever for the fit of my pants. I'm expanding at quite a nice rate, having just purchased Gap jeans in a size 6, where heretofore I've worn 2's.

My husband just told me that I'm still a 2, it is just that the baby is a 4.

Internet, don't we love him?

**************

Naps! Naps are freaking awesome!

**************

Tuesday (Sept. 22) was a BIG DAY. I had my First! Doctor! Appointment! Up until the appointment, nausea, sore boobs and weight gain notwithstanding, I could've *possibly* been making this whole pregnancy thing up. Which, I know, seriously, is the LEAST RATIONAL thought ever to have flitted through my head. But, really? Early pregnancy is WEIRD. You pee on a stick, get all excited and aside from a smattering of weird symptoms you're more or less on your own until that first doctor visit, which, for me, didn't happen until I was NINE WEEKS AND THREE DAYS PREGNANT. Granted, the day I found out I was already at 3 1/2 weeks but the subsequent six weeks of waiting were HORRIFIC and all the while I waited feeling like a fraud.

Not rational. I know. But still.

Within minutes of arriving at the doctor's office I got hooked up to an ultrasound machine and we confirmed that I was VERY MUCH NOT FAKING and INDEED 100% PREGNANT. My doctor's office is pretty high tech . . . they had a huge plasma TV up on the wall for me to watch while the ultrasound tech did her thing. I had Googled photos of 9 week ultrasounds and had figured we'd see a little bean shaped blob, but we got really lucky with the bean's position and we were able to see his* beating heart and his adorable little arms. The technician flipped a switch and a fast paced whooshing noise filled the room. I sat there stunned for a few seconds and finally asked "IS THAT THE BABY?!?!" (aka: "The dumbest question in the history of ultrasounds"). I can't even describe how incredible (and, ok, a little weird) it was to hear that heartbeat and see those little bean arms. There is a person! In my belly! Small and bean shaped and curled up on his side like a little hamster. I love him. Lots.

Which is all well and good because it made the next bit a little easier. I've been dreading the blood test (first of many, I know!) planned for my first visit. I have a *thing* about people touching the insides of my elbows (or the backs of my knees for that matter) so the thought of someone sticking a needle in there and SUCKING OUT MY BLOOD freaked me RIGHT THE FUCK OUT. I'd been building this whole fiasco up in my head for Six! Weeks! and all I can say is that I'm thrilled they did the ultrasound first because by the time the nurse came at me with a needle I'd made peace with the whole procedure as something Bean needed me to do. It really wasn't all THAT bad in the end either. I had my husband there to hold my hand and the nurse was great and got me talking. I chattered away about baby names for the minute or so I spent with an needle in my arm and before I knew it she was slapping on a band-aid.

Leaving Boy and I free to go home and gape at the printouts of our Bean.

* I'm going to be saying "his" until I know for sure. I suspect he's a boy and I refuse to refer to Bean as "it".

**************

Maternity pants get such a bad rap, but, you know? They're comfortable. They fit. They don't make me feel like I'm bisecting my Bean ever time I sit down or, you know, BREATHE. The waistbands are pretty ugly on their own, but I can always WEAR A SHIRT OVER THEM. It isn't like I have to TUCK THINGS IN, omg.

My other options are a) Wear the pants I always used to wear, but with a hair tie looped through the button hole and a Bella Band holding the whole lot up. This works pretty well, if I'm going to be mainly standing. Unfortunately, those of us with a penchant for ultra skinny, super low rise denim like me will likely find that sitting in ultra low rise, super skinny jeans rigged up with a hair tie and a Bella Band results in plumbers crack the likes of which would BLOW YOUR FREAKING MIND.

So! For days when I'm not exclusively standing, another option is b) regular pants that are a size too big. These make me look like a hesher circa 1992. So, basically, NO.

Which leaves me with the aforementioned "Not That Bad" maternity pants. I have been cleaning out the clearance section of Gap.com and Oldnavy.com on a pretty regular basis and I've scored quite a few pairs of super cheap, demi panel pants. These in particular were a really great buy (I wear them tucked into tall boots).

In the tops department, I've discovered that anything with side ruching looks totally adorable over my growing bump and makes me feel more PREGNANT than FOND OF DONUTS (<- always nice to be pregnant and not fat)

In short: Maternity clothes are the most comfortable and flattering things in my closet right now. For nights out I still make do with rigging my pants and wearing flowy non-maternity tops. After a few long hard looks in the mirror though, I've decided that for work and for everyday, the maternity stuff really is more flattering. More comfortable and practical to boot. No shame: YEA FOR MATERNITY PANTS!

**************

Boy and I went to a dinner party last night and about an hour in the general volume level in the room went up a notch or two and I started wondering why everyone seemed so . . . happy. OH YEAH. Because they'd all got a glass of wine in them.

We ended up the night at a show in Echo Park, where more drinking was done by people other than me, and where I made a pretty startling discovery. I always thought I talked a lot of shit and was generally crap in social situations BECAUSE of the drink or two I'd have to loosen up and relax. It turns out, I talk a lot of shit even whilst sober! I just AM crap in social situations! Hallelujah for deeper self knowledge.

**************

Handy tip of the week: A great way to get your husband to do the dishes every night is to drape yourself dramatically over the arm of the couch after dinner and moan "I'm sooooo preeegggnannnnnttttt". Invariably, mine will send me off to (read in) (and eat candy in) bed while he cleans up the kitchen.

**************

Thus endeth this extra long, reader's digest version of my first three months. Boy and I are beside ourselves with excitement and I'm thrilled to finally be able to tell y'all about Bean (aka: Beanie Bug, Bam-Bean-O and "He Who Makes Mama Barfy"). I'm especially thankful that I'll be able to tap the collective knowledge of the blogoverse throughout this adventure (For starters: Guys, really, give it to me straight: are my boobs going to keep growing? I ALREADY LOOK LIKE AN EXTRA ON BAYWATCH, HERE.)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Waffles: NOM!

When I registered for a waffle maker for our wedding, Boy mocked me. Oh! How he mocked me! He figured that it'd be hard to use, hard to clean, and just not something we'd ever pull out of the cupboard.

WELL, GUESS WHAT?

Turns out, I make a mean blueberry waffle. And the whole waffles from scratch deal takes LESS time than my standard eggs and potatoes weekend brekkie. Seriously, guys. 15 minutes TOPS, here. I use the recipe that came with my waffle maker (all standard ingredients we have on hand anyways: flour, milk, egg, salt, sugar, baking powder) and augment it by tossing in a handful of frozen blueberries.

It also turns out that homemade blueberry waffles look pretty dope on my Spode Blue Italian dinner plates.

NOM!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Firing up the ol' hooks

I haven't crocheted anything in eons. Seriously? Like, months and months and months. Over the weekend, though, while flipping through my new Lucky magazine, I saw this:



And, well, CLEARLY, I need that scarf. I need the jacket too, something fierce. But I'll start with the scarf.

So I dusted the cobwebs off of my yarn stash and found this:



Whereas it wasn't exactly black cashmere or alpaca, it WAS fresh off the boat from Ireland (well, my parents picked it up for me in Blarney about 3 years ago) and it is for sure the skein in my collection I've most been wanting to make something special out of.

I flipped through my stitch pattern book and found a spiderweb stitch, which, while it bears no relation whatsoever to the stitch pictured in Lucky, is a SPIDERWEB STITCH and in my current Halloween / Haunted Mansion obsessed state of mind I decided I MUST! TRY!



So, I'm about 3 pattern repeats in and actually really proud of myself for plowing through a complicated stitch pattern after a long crochet hiatus. And if I pull this scarf off? I'm going to get me some nice black cashmere to make another!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Halloween Time!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE FREAKING LOVE HALLOWEEN. It isn't like I get dressed up or anything. Or like we get trick or treaters at the condo (Third floor. Gated. Meh.) Or even like I throw or go to a big party every year. I just LOVE the spooky atmosphere and decorations and the fact that the entire month of October revolves around the eating of CANDY.

If I had it my way, the entire condo would be decked out in fake spider webs, ghost window decals and audio-anamatronic candy bowls right about now. HOWEVER. In an effort to keep Boy from going insane I've kept the decorations to a minumum:

Our baby albino pumpkin, Jack (as in Skellington, not O' Lantern)!

A pumpkin bucket full of Nerds!

And, arguably the best purchase I've EVER made at Target, a portrait of Queen Elizabeth . . .

. . . that becomes skeletal when viewed at an angle and which has CREEPY MUSIC and RED LIGHT UP EYES. (I believe Boy thinks we'll be taking this down after Halloween. Internet, he is mistaken.) (Video, sideways because I thought I'd be able to rotate it, hrumph, HERE.)


We also made a little addition to our DVD collection and I've been eyeing a few cupcake projects on Disney's website to make and bring to work on the 30th.

FUN! What are you doing to get into the Halloween spirit?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wedding Gifties

One of the best things about having made over our bedroom is that we were able to move things around on the walls and incorporate a few pretty spectacular wedding gifts.

This is going to require backstory, methinks.

So! You know how my parents and I (and now Boy and his family!) have a long history of vacationing at Hampton Court Palace? Well, over the course of many, many years of staying there, we've made great friends with some of the Palace guards. My parents befriended a few guards within minutes of arriving at the Palace for their first stay . . . and you would too. The Palace is notoriously haunted and, if you found yourself in a spot of paranormal trouble, trust me, you'd want the guys downstairs with the big flashlights on your side!

We stayed at Hampton Court for the begining of our wedding trip, and had a little get together for HCP friends on one of our nights there. During that stay, Boy and I got two of, really, the most spectacular wedding gifts. Our friends Trevor and Jackie had a clock made for us by a clockmaker in Hastings, where they live. The clock was carved by hand in the shape of England. It is just absolutely gorgeous and handmade, artisan goods are totally the kind of thing I love. We put the clock up in our bedroom hallway, showcased on its own little patch of wall where we see it several times every day.

Our good friends Patrick and his sister Christine and her daughter Katherine had another spectacular handmade gift crafted for us: A Welsh Love Spoon. Love Spoons are unique to Wales and have a long, rich history. The carvings are all full of symbolism and meaning. The spoon that was made for us includes bells which are symbolic of weddings; a dragon, symbolic of Wales and Celtic knotwork for eternal love. We hug it up by our bedroom door, to make sure that we can't leave the house in the morning without seeing our spoon and remembering our amazing wedding!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Tinkering

Have you guys seen our living room? Have you seen our deck? Not to be a peacock about it, but they're pretty damn gorgeous. We worked hard on them and we love how they turned out. We're proud to have people over and show them off.

Which makes it all the more painful to walk into our bedroom and be surrounded by all the MEH.

We bought new dressers when we moved into the condo. We ripped out the tacky 80s blinds and redid all the window treatments (one of them pretty spectacularly). We put up pictures and things we'd collected while travelling. We bought a new duvet and I sewed up tons of pillows.

And still? The bedroom looks like a furniture wasteland. It is mismatched (not that things have to match) and just incredibly BORING.

Maybe I'm so down on the bedroom since my last bedroom was A FREAKING WORK OF ART. I LOVED that room. I had candle sconces on the wall and mirrors and heavy damask draperies and when I'd light the candles and lie in bed to read I honestly felt like I was at the Four Seasons. It was the perfect bedroom.

Sigh.

One thing Boy and I thought FOR SURE needed to be handled bedroom wise was my book "Situation". I have a great bookcase that my dad and grandpa built for me when I was a baby . . . simple, sturdy and obviously really sentimental. Trouble was, my book collection outgrew those shelves sometime in my second year of college. And yet I've made due ever since then by cramming it as full as possible and stacking books up alongside. On Thursday night at around 3am, that method sorta FAILED:



Boy had the brilliant idea of getting shelving that would span the entire width of our bedroom, under our window. We found shelves at Ikea that were the perfect length . . . just three inches to spare. So we were able to get that great, built in look without having to spend tons of money or actually build anything in.

The building, though, was not all shits and giggles. I'm sure we've all assembled Ikea furniture before and we all know about thier screws and lock bolts. If you haven't screwed a screw in ALL THE WAY you're not going to be able to get a lock bolt over it. And by the time you realize your error you'll have built the entirety of the bookcase and you won't be willing to undo all your work just to tighten one stupid screw. In which case you could leave the bolt off entirely, or you could get medieval on its ass with a jeweler's saw. The choice is yours!

After much wrangling, arranging and vaccuming, Boy and I ended up with this:



Plus side!: My books all fit! Some are 2 rows deep but WHATEVER. At least none are FOUR rows deep anymore.

Negative side: Those of us hoping for a massive, all around transformation (<- me) were left a little disappointed. The bedroom looks better, but it still isn't KILLER. We have an idea or two about rearranging the furniture (and ripping out the old carpeting) which could make all the difference in the world.

For now, though, I'm happy to have a "better" (if not yet perfect) bedroom and a home for all my books! More photos HERE, some of which I'll talk about another day because I've reached my teeth gnashing quota for this post!