farewell, anything once.

So, I just set new goals for this blog, promising to write more blah blah blah.
But then, a week after I set those new goals, Zoe proposed a joint blogging endeavor centered around the fact that we've been long distance for most of our friendship, but still have a super solid, deep friendship. I'll still write about new experiences there, but I'll also write a bunch of other stuff. And so will Zoe. And she's awesome. And if you were planning on writing a guest post for me - PLEASE still do. It'll just go on the new blog.

In conclusion, thanks for reading this blog, you faithful handful, and please check out the new one and follow it! We'll have fresh content daily, with everything from more anything once to movie reviews to photography to random thoughts. See you on the flip side: www.longdistancelobsters.com


guest post #6 teaching another human how to sleep

And now, a guest post from Becca, a dear friend of mine from college (Westmont, woot woot!) and current blogger extraordinaire. Find her further confessions of a mama-in-training at www.whileyouwerenapping.com. 

I love sleep. I love everything about it. I love going to bed early on the weekends (yes! I am that strain of nerdy) with cool sheets, clean jammies, and a mountain of pillows behind my head. I love waking up early and staying in bed to read until a disgraceful amount of time has passed and the dog is whining to be let outside. And don’t even get me started on naps! Do you remember those glorious Friday afternoon naps in college? People, I got mono during my junior year of college, and secretly I didn’t mind because I got to nap often and without guilt. I love to sleep.

So when you have a baby, sleep suddenly becomes a major talking point. Sleep, diapers and paying for college. These are the trifecta of topics that strangers will bring up with you once the child is born. That, and pacifier use. But everyone loves to talk about sleep, specifically, how little sleep you may or may not be getting.

I was one of the lucky ones. “Hi baby,” strangers would coo at my darling ball of a boy. “Are you letting your mommy sleep?”
“Actually yes! He’s been sleeping through the night since he was six weeks old.” I would smile and then continue on with false modesty. “He really taught himself how to do it. I can’t take any credit for it.”

But, dear reader, do you want to know the truth? In my heart of hearts, I totally took credit for it! My boy, Cruz, was a great sleeper because I was a great mom. Right?

Then he turned four months old, and suddenly my Sleep Prince was a Sleep Bandit.
...but a really CUTE sleep bandit.
I was a lost ship, set adrift in a sea of wakefusdfjsfj g

Sorry. That was my head hitting the keyboard as I fell asleep writing this.

Days without sleeping through the night turned into weeks turned into months. And at this point I find myself with two options:

Option 1: Try to teach another human how to sleep.

Option 2: Hire a nice college student to pull all of her all-nighters in my son’s room.

Like Hermione Granger, I have never found a problem that can’t be solved by a trip to the library, and no tiny baby is going to prove me wrong. I armed myself with a stack of books, spent the last week speed- reading them, and have come to the definitive conclusion that these “experts” are full of seemingly obvious advice.  I am reading these books because I am having trouble convincing my son to sleep through the night. I’m fairly certain that if “shushing” him from across the room were going to do the trick, it would have already happened. Standing next to the crib “shushing” a fussy baby at 3am seems like it will be as effective as that “focus picture” I was supposed to use to take my mind off the pain during labor.
[Insert hilarious and knowing laughter]

There are two great results of sleep training so far. The first is that it actually seems to be working. Cruz sleeps longer, and with less and less intervention. The second is that I get to do a big dramatic wake-up routine when it’s actually time to get out of the crib. As soon as I hear those happy babbles over the monitor (and it’s after 6:30am!), I creep into his nursery, strike a pose, and jazz hands the heck out of our good morning cheer. “You did it! It’s time to wake up! It’s time to play! Yay!”

It still seems strange that I need to teach someone how to do such a basic thing. But if I get more sleep and a happy baby  (and again, can’t say too much about jazz hands) out of this experiment, then it’s certainly a first I’ll repeat over and over.
High five for sleeping!


#52 getting showered for baby

Last week, Arabella and her planning team (or committee, for you church folk out there) threw Jeff and me the most amazing baby shower of my life. In fact, it was probably the best baby shower of your life too.  Here's some proof:

1. The theme was an Alice in Wonderland tea party, which would have been enough in itself to make me happy. I love Alice in Wonderland, even though when I was very young I was ill one day and my dad rented it for me and I watched it three times in one sitting so he bought it for me and when he proudly presented the purchased copy, instead of thanking him I told him I was sick of that movie and never wanted to watch it again. I'm sorry, Daddy and Alice in Wonderland. I was so wrong and so spoiled. And I'm sorry, English language, for that run-on back there.
2. It looked like the Mad Hatter himself had decorated. There were vintagey playing cards, old Alice prints, colorful tablecloths, topsy turvy vases made out of piles of teacups, signs that pointed to places like "yonder," bright hanging paper balls, and bubbles whenever people chose to contribute to the decor and blow them.
3. Arabella provided accouterments for us - a Mad Hatter's hat for Jeff and an adorable Red Queen's crown for me. This was exciting both because I got to wear a crown and because I've never used the word accouterments before.
4. Chadley played some kind of opera or something the whole time. It made the whole event feel rather epic.
5. The food was delicious and themey too. There were plenty of tea sandwiches made by Sissy and Tiffany, delicious chicken and pineapple made by my future BIL (that's brother in-law), and Arabella made colorful sweets too. My favorites were the swirly lollipops with Eiley written on them. We saved the extras after the party so we can hand them out whenever Eiley decides to make an appearance. The hospital staff will think I am a Martha Stewart kind of crazy. (My apologies to any mothers who personalized candy to hand out at the birth of their child. I meant crazy in a good way.)
6. Arabella also made a video for us with greetings from Zoe and Mikkele and my parents. She added music and kind words and edited it like a professional emotional puppetmaster. She only got a few tears out of me, but, in her words, she "made Jeff cry like the baby girl he's expecting." 
7. We got presents. That's always fun, even when the presents are things like bottles and bibs. Jeff and I were so grateful for this community of generous friends, and I do so enjoy ripping paper. 
Me and Arab
Photo credit: Ashley Manning
In conclusion, this first was surprisingly delightful!


#51 dyeing a dress (or: making a dress to dye for)

*I promise, there is only one other dye pun in here.*

My sister, Jenna, is getting married! She met the love of her life last year, and they're looking forward to getting hitched here in Virginia in July. They've already started planning the wedding, and one decision they made is a general color scheme - basically a rainbow sherbet of yellow, pink, orange, and aqua. Sissy (which is what started out as a joke nickname, but I now just call her) has a good idea of the style of bridesmaids dresses she'd like her girlz (that z was intentional, thank you) to wear too - knee length, cotton summer dresses. In conclusion, we have officially made it nearly impossible to find coordinating dresses. 

The good news is that Sissy is a genius and realized that it would be easy to find white knee length, cotton summer dresses, and she figured out that we could dye them. So we went to Rit's website (that's a fabric dye company, for those of you who, like a week ago me, didn't know) and discovered that not only do they have an array of color options, they also have dye recipes, so we can get uber specific. You people may not be excited, but we were wholly thrilled. So thrilled, in fact, that we could not wait to try our experiment out.

On Saturday, a mere two days after our fashion epiphany, we went to Old Navy and Sissy bought an adorable white dress. We forgot to take a before picture, and Old Navy doesn't have it on their website, but it was straight up white like snow or a lamb or the dude that plays that funky music.

We took it back to her place, and I started dyeing while she slaved away making food for my baby shower. Basically, I put super hot water in a plastic tub, poured in half the bottle of dye, stirred, then added the dress. The instructions said to "continuously agitate the garment for 30 to 60 minutes," so I started yelling obscenities at the tub, but I ran out of things to say after like a minute and decided to try stirring it instead. Stirring a pot of clothes made me feel like Charlie's mom in that one really boring song that I always skip from the 70s Willy Wonka. So that was new too. Never felt like her before.
Sidenote: We tried not to get any of this in the food Sissy made.
We didn't want anyone
dyeing from it. Har.
After a half hour, I rinsed out the dress and ran it through the washer and then the dryer. This required patience, which was lame. But it was worth it! Check out the finished product:
Wouldn't you just swear that this came in this color?!
And isn't Sissy adorable?!
This is a first that I will definitely repeat. You know, because we're going to do this for the dresses for the wedding. So fun!


#50 getting my blood drawn four times in one day

This first combined two things I hate: Needles and even numbers. I guess I should be thankful that they didn't have a clown taking my blood.

So, I'm pregnant (in case you somehow missed that) and it turns out being pregnant is strikingly similar to being a lab mouse. This week's test was for gestational diabetes. I admit, I don't fully understand what the ramifications will be if I am diagnosed with that; however, I
do know that the test ruined the first half of my week.

For three days before the test, I was on a special high carb, high sugar diet. Sounds kind of fun, right? Wrong. Being
forced to eat a dozen cupcakes in three days is not awesome. I started to resent them, and it's never good to feel such emotions toward inanimate objects. Especially inanimate objects that have sprinkles.

The night before the test, I had to fast starting at midnight. Don't worry, I had a snack at 11:45. The day of the test, we arrived at the doctor's office ready to go. The lab tech took my blood, then I drank an orange, syrupy drink, and then we waited. I won't bore you with the whole four hour visit. Here are highlights:

  • Due to my lack of caffeine, I may have been less than cordial to the first nurse we saw. Sorry, lady! I adjusted my attitude after meeting with her, but I still feel medium bad.
  • I usually lay down for anything with needles. Well, I did so well with the first blood draw, I decided to be brave and sit in a chair for the second one, like the rest of the grown ups.
  • I learned my lesson and laid down for blood draws three and four.
  • I had four different nurses ask if I'd left a urine sample. These people really should work on their small talk.
  • I'm rocking some track marks. I'm so street, yo.
  • Okay, it doesn't look quite this bad.
    Courtney enhanced the ugly for dramatic effect.
  • Man, chicken nuggets and diet coke taste good when you haven't eaten in 12 hours.
In conclusion, this is a first I do not want to repeat. Ever. Good grief. This child better be freaking adorable.


rerun #1 panic attack in a kayak

For our second anniversary, Jeff and I were in Naples, Florida visiting his Aunt Rose Mary and generally just hanging out. We thought it would be romantic to take a peaceful kayak ride through the mangroves in Clam Bay. It was a hot day, so a water sport would be the perfect solution. Plus, we were able to rent the kayak for free through Rose Mary's membership at Pelican Bay, a chichi community in Naples.

We hopped in the kayak and pushed off. It was slow-going, hot, and sticky, but still rather peaceful. We went north first and found a lot of open water, which was easy to navigate but provided no shade from the hot sun and wasn't terribly interesting, so we headed back to the dock and grabbed our camera that we'd left there. While we were on land, I noticed a horrible, black, spider-like creature quickly creeping on the side of the dock. It stayed a safe distance away though, so I commented on it and moved on. Heart rate: Normal.

We pushed off again, this time headed south into the mangroves. Again, it was totally peaceful. I kind of felt like we were in Brazil or Costa Rica or the Jungle Cruise. It was cooler in the shade, and I was relaxed. I paused for a while and Jeff took over the rowing and steering.

Side note: It's really not the best idea to wholly give steering over to the person in the back of the boat who can't totally see what's going on. What happened next was not Jeff's fault.

I looked up and noticed that we were headed straight toward an overhanging branch. This concerned me. Then I saw one of those aforementioned horrible, black, spider-like creatures scurrying down said branch, obviously preparing himself for a direct hit to my face if we kept going the same direction. Heart rate: So not normal. I started screaming, thrashing my oar in the water, at the branch, at the kayak, at myself, at Jeff. Still screaming, I seriously weighed my options - should I let this thing eat my face off or should I jump in the water and let an alligator eat my legs off? More screaming, more thrashing, a tilt of the kayak, and then we were out of harm's way, face and legs still intact.

Some observations:
1. I wish someone had filmed me. I would have been a youtube sensation.
2. I was holding our digital camera the whole time and dunked it in the water in the midst of my panic attack. Jeff had that camera for four years, and I killed it. I blame the eight-legged monster.
3. It took me approximately 30 minutes to come down from that. There were tears, shaking, and a smidge of hyperventilating. Good workout.
4. This turned out to be one of the least romantic things we did that whole weekend. And that includes the few hours we spent watching reruns of Hannah Montana.
5. Turns out it was a harmless crab.
Does this look remotely harmless to you?!
Photo credit: www.greennature.com
In conclusion, I think Panic Attack in Kayak would make a great band name. You are welcome to use it.


#49 spelling JEFF in pancakes

I have a long, sweet history with pancakes.

As a child, my dad would make pancakes often. They were usually awesome and shaped like Mickey or Minnie. My great grandma, Mudder, made thin pancakes and slathered them in butter and poured buttery syrup on top. Lethal. (I'm just now realizing that those were probably Swedish pancakes, which is one of my Mother-in-Law's many specialties.) Even my mom could make pancakes, which was a feat. She is absolutely an amazing mother, but cooking was never her strength, unless you count popping popcorn. She's a talented popcornista.

As an adult, I still love pancakes. Mikkele and I used to have Pancake Mondays, which was actually only one Monday, followed by a Pancake Tuesday the next week, followed by an end to that tradition. But this gem came out of one of those evenings:
We dubbed it pancake surprise. (Shhh...the surprise was blueberries.) It looks horrifying, but I promise it was delicious.

In addition to making pancakes, we enjoyed finding various pancake establishments in the Costa Mesa area. Chester Drawers Omelette Parlor was a favorite (R.I.P.), but the surprising winner was Pancakes R Us. It's in an old IHOP building, but it's independently owned, which somehow had a very ghettofying effect. The pancakes were amazing, but even more amazing was our waitress who made some wildly inappropriate comments throughout our evening. I'm having trouble remembering exactly what she said, but there was something about her ex-husband and at one point she grabbed a roll of her fat and said, "paid by the pound!" and cackled and we all kind of stared at her in horror. (Update: Mikkele just reminded me that we documented this madness. Please go here for the full story http://starsareawake.blogspot.com/2008/05/last-week-my-roommate-and-i-were.html.)

Anyway, back to my first. I still make pancakes all the time here. There's nothing faster, cheaper, and more delicious than a good breakfast for dinner. I do not, however, usually personalize the pancakes. This is what I did last week: 
My pancake penmanship could use a lot of work, but it made Jeff guffaw (and that's not a word I just throw out lightly), and I'm certain it tasted delicious, so I'm claiming this first as a success. 


#48 blogging semi-consistently for an entire year

Happy anniversary, blog. You are inanimate and thusly incapable of emotion, but hey, congratulations anyway. 

In honor of this thrilling occasion, I have decided to make some blogular goals for the pending year. Ready? Go!

1. Start using correct capitalization. This is lame, but I promise it's a semi-rational decision. I figure that it has always been a dream of mine to write for a living, and perhaps blogging could be a way to start, and perhaps if I wanted to show my blog to a potential employer of some sort, I should demonstrate a slightly more comprehensive command of the English language. There are a lot of perhapses in there, but a girl has to try. 
2. Attempt to get more guest bloggers. I love writing, but I also love editing want this to be a forum for others to share their firsts. So let me know if you'd be willing to bust out a post. 
3. Post more often. Lofty goal time! Let's go with three posts per week. I should be able to do this with a combination of regular firsts, guest posts, and a new segment I'll call Reruns (memories of past firsts - don't worry, I'll keep these clean). 

That is all. Questions? Complaints? Offers to write a guest blog? Leave a comment below.


#47 finding new uses for my stomach

just six months ago, i was only able to use my stomach as a washboard*. now i've discovered myriad new uses for this sucker. here's a top five:

1. arm rest. to be specific, an arm rest for myself, not others. seriously, where did i previously rest my arms? i think my lap, but if i try to do that now, my hands disappear and it looks like i'm a toddler who has to pee.
2. pillow. to be specific, a pillow for buster. this tends to make eiley move a lot. i can't decide if she's trying to hug her puppy back or if she's kicking him off of her or if she just happens to feel like doing some gymnastics every time buster hangs out here. i'll ask her whenever i get a chance and she's less fetusy.
3. hand magnet. okay, this hasn't been nearly as bad as i've read it can be. so far i have only had one stranger touch my belly. i thought i'd be totally okay with it because i'm absolutely fine with people i know touching it, but really, it was weird. in the future, i will touch the stranger's stomach in return and tentatively ask what we're doing.
4. table. very handy.
5. rationalizer. angry prospective student in the admissions office? send me in! who's going to yell at a pregnant chick? (okay, i actually have an answer for that rhetorical. he was a pastor named chuck, and he yelled at me for asking him to complete a one page form. that was, however, three months ago - my stomach was not up to its full hypnotic power yet.) for the most part, people try to be nice to me when we're face to stomach face, so they actually think rationally before they speak. amazing.

*that was a joke. i have never had washboard abs. i will never have washboard abs. i kind of think washboard abs look creepy on most women. 


#46 writing a song

there are many talented songwriters in my life. my friend katie wrote an impressive ditty about a crush she had on a boy at the ymca once, and it moved me. my co-worker, thomas-steele, has recently mastered the auto tuner and writes what are sure to be future dance hits. (my personal favorite is "fish nuggets.") and (seriously now) my little brother, steven, is absolutely gifted in writing songs of worship. so i thought i'd give it a shot, if only for one evening.

this was not a successful first, for many reasons:
1. the lyrics are ridiculous.
2. the tune is atrocious.
3. i use the word "modicon," when i meant "modicum." turns out modicon is both the name of the first programmable logic controller and an oral contraception. either way, i have idiot moments at 0:59 and 1:04. 

a more dignified blogger would not post this. but i say dignity shmignity! this song is entitled "it won't tune." enjoy?


#45 getting all colonial

last weekend, i had the distinct pleasure of hanging out in colonial williamsburg. i had lunch with meredith, a friend from college, at the cheese shop and dinner with one of my favorite families, the nadlers, at the king's arms taverns. here are my thoughts on the experience:

1. never go to the cheese shop on the first warm day of the year. it was completely packed in there. i ordered a simple grilled cheese, so i got out my claustrophobic butt out of there immediately, but mer's slightly more complicated sandwich took almost a half hour. intense.
2. i was extremely disappointed at the lack of olde tyme spelling. i mean, shouldn't it have been "ye olde cheese shoppe"? come on, colonial williamsburg.
3. walking alone down a long dirt road of abandoned colonial houses is simultaneously creepy and awesome. i kind of felt like i was on a movie set.
4. it is refreshing to see friends that i've known for almost a decade. it is unsettling to realize that i have known my college friends for almost a decade.
5. while waiting for the nadlers to arrive at dinner, i sat on a bench outside the restaurant. and then a large group of fifers and drummers passed directly in front of me. my own personal, weird concert.
work it, people.
6. the food at the king's arms tavern was historically correct and satisfied my urge for ye olde tyme spelling. we tried peanut soupe, romaine salat, pan seared seasoned boneless chicken breast, vanilla-scented mashed sweet potatoes, and a variety of condiments, including pickled watermelon, corn relish, and Virginia ham. i don't understand why people pickle things. i mean...ew. everything else was seriously delicious. also, i never could have remembered all that on my own. good thing it was on their website.
7. should a historically correct colonial tavern really have a website?
8. we learned that two famous idioms stem from colonial linen. rich people had giant linen napkins, so they had enough to "tie one on," not so rich people had just enough to "make ends meet." hey, we thought that was cool.
9. i just noticed i can caption photos. yeah, this blog just got a little more awesome.

the end.


butterbeer pictures!

i am in the library using the interweb, so i'm able to post pictures to my heart's content. holler.
and now...chad in an ikea apron!
me in an owl apron!
 courtney in a carrie renfro original apron!
 butterbeer and scrabble and no apron! 


guest post #5 teaching my niece sweet phrases

and now, a post from one of my best friends, mikkele. she lives in california (land of my people), and has the cutest niece of ever. get excited.

I’m not great with children. I can do all the things associated with keeping kids safe and healthy and even run around and make them laugh for awhile, but I am the first to give them back when they cry or spit up or whatever it is that children do. So when the traditional role of “Aunt” was bestowed upon me with without much warning, I had to figure out what that meant for me, the non-traditional adult that doesn’t swoon the minute I see a baby.

When my niece, Claire, was born, I immediately fell in love. I was simultaneously smitten with the little face staring back at me and terrified I was going to drop her and some permanent damage would be all my fault. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. Quite the opposite, in fact. Claire, now 2 ½ years old, is progressing very nicely in her ability to interact with people and remember important facts and phrases. This is where my first comes in.

Many years ago, Emily and I sat down and created a bucket list for my life. Some items were big (obtain a Master’s, learn a new language) and some items were simple (participate in an Improv Everywhere event, go on a blind date). We decided that I should set a goal for the role of aunt, and we decided on teaching Claire the phrase, “I know, right?”

It is with great pleasure that I announce that I have completed this goal! I even have the video to prove it:


#44 making butterbeer!

i've recently taken a hiatus from imbibing since jeff and i agreed that we want eiley to be as normal as possible before we start messing her up. the lack of alcohol is not a huge deal, though i do miss wine on the occasion ("the occasion" being new year's, game nights, bachelor nights, and saturdays). so when chad suggested we make butterbeer, a completely non-alcoholic beverage, i was excited on several levels: 
1. it sounds like something a pudgy frat boy would drink, which makes this knocked up chick feel cool.  
2. it's inspired by a brilliant piece of modern fiction, and i like books.
3. it provided an opportunity to use my awesome aprons.

chad and courtney came over, and we got straight to cooking. first we made butterscotch, which apparently only requires heating up some water, butter, rum extract, cider vinegar, and approximately a bucket of brown sugar. culinary miracle! we let that cool, scooped it into some glasses, and added cream soda. it tasted like a delicious heart attack. seriously, it was so sugary that i couldn't even partake of the brownies we made. and brownies are my favorite.

this first was a success, even though i subsequently had my first night of being kept awake from someone kicking me in the intestines. apparently fetuses can get hopped up on sugar. 

pictures to follow because my stolen borrowed internet is too slow for uploading pictures.


#43 getting complimented on my urine

at my doctor's appointment yesterday:


Your urine looks good.

Gosh, thanks. No one has ever complimented me on my pee before.
Lab technician courtesy laughs while looking slightly concerned.

end scene.


#42 sporting an outie belly button

last week, my stomach started getting big. it looks like i have a little watermelon under my shirt, whereas a few weeks ago it looked like i was wearing unflattering clothes after a huge lunch every day. i actually prefer this watermelon look, but i was not excited to notice that my belly button has started to protrude. it's gross, really. if it gets worse, i intend to tape that sucker down. 

i tried to take a picture of it, but that just didn't work out. too close up, i guess. you'll all be happy to know that i was attempting that picture at my cubicle though. shirt up, camera propped on my belly. it's a shame no one walked by.

i also tried googling "outie belly button." i do not recommend doing that.

so instead, here's a picture of a fennec fox that i stole from the interweb. 
he's as cute as a button. and exponentially cuter than a belly button.


#41 watching all the oscar nominated short films

last night tiffany and i went to the naro, an independent movie theater in norfolk, to watch all of the oscar nominated short films. the naro is awesome - it opened in 1936 and still holds an antiquated charm with its large marquee, one ticket seller, balcony seating, and fancy (and unnecessary) curtain over the screen. (sidenote: i'm not sure if i've mentioned it before, but i feel like i wouldn't be so down on this whole state of virginia place if i lived in norfolk. it's a seriously cool little city. i mean, there are two frozen yogurt places on one street, and there are giant mermaid sculptures everywhere. what more could you want?) 

(visual stolen from internet!)

before the films began, a mousy man stepped in front of the screen with a microphone and announced that the previews were beginning. the curtain opened, and the previews played, then the curtains closed. mousy man then announced that we were going to watch the animated shorts first. the curtain opened and the animated shorts began. all this speeching and curtaining seemed unnecessary but also entirely endearing. i felt like we were having a whole experience as opposed to just a standard trip to the movies.

some comments (i could write about each film, but i'll try not to bore you instead):
1. animated shorts are slow. not boring necessarily, just slow. the exceptions were "day and night" by pixar and "the lost thing" by some australian people.  
2. it is mean to make a depressing animated short. do you hear me, germans who made "urs"?! 
3. "the lost thing" beat out the pixar short for the oscar this year, and despite some intense feelings of loyalty toward pixar because of genius like toy story, up, and monsters inc, i had to agree. it was brilliantly creative, heartwarming, and funny. and it made me think of my mother because i think the animators stole some of their creatures from her brain. buy it on itunes.
4. "god of love," the oscar winning live short film, was hilarious and adorable, and i kind of felt like that kid was an ethnic napoleon dynamite. and the girl made me want to get bangs. i won't though, don't worry.
5. "wish 146" made tiffany cry. i would like to note, however, that she at no time sobbed. if i wasn't dead inside, i would have considered crying too. in a good way though - seriously good film.
6. going to watch short films at an independent theater will make you feel like film's version of a hipster. is there a word for that yet? this feeling fades when one is completely surrounded by senior citizens.
7. sour patch watermelons are yummy.


#40 getting drooled upon by a human

i admit, i thought this one would happen about six months from now. instead, it happened at lunch today.

this is my husband, jeff:
isn't he cute? doesn't he look friendly, intelligent, caring, hott, and (most importantly) tall? well, if you can't tell all that from the picture, take my word for it. he is all those things and more. just this week, he endured a shopping trip to motherhood maternity with me, where the saleswomen apparently get their training from old national geographic videos about vultures. swoop swoop swoop. instead of complaining (like me), he said he likes shopping with me almost as much as shopping for himself, and for various reasons, i believe him. he's that great. oh, and he's 6'3". a tower of hunkiness. and he makes excellent grades in graduate school, so BOOM! proof of intellect. 

okay, now that you all know i love this jeffrey and am proud to be married to him, let's move on to the real post.

after eating today, my stomach was making noises that would frighten that child from the grudge. jeff decided that was eiley (our pending child) trying to communicate with him, so of course he put his mouth straight to my stomach and talked back. "HELLOOOOOO EILEY, THIS IS YOUR DAAAAAAD." this was cute. then he raised his mouth and i saw a long strand of spit emerging. this was disgusting. there was even a little wet spot remaining on my belly.

the dude drooled on me. 

this is probably a better picture for this post:
yeah. he looks way more like a drooler here.


#39 making cheesecake cupcakes

it is my co-worker erin's birthday today, and in honor of that, i wanted to make something delicious to celebrate her yesterday. i knew she liked cheesecake, so i went on a cheesecake hunt at the store two days ago. while there, my decision-making skills were not functioning. i must have been a sight - a pregnant woman pacing between the bakery, frozen foods, jello section, and baking section. it probably looked like i was having seriously fluctuating cravings. 

i glanced at the premade stuff in the bakery and decided it was a bit too pricey for what you'd get.
i checked out the frozen sara lee stuff and decided the same.
i scanned the section with the jello no-bake cheesecake and decided it was too risky. i'd never made it before, and i didn't want to ruin her birthday dessert.
so i ended up in the baking section, faithful funfetti in hand. i walked about halfway to the checkout when i stopped and thought, "NO! you can make the cheesecake, emily! it's in a box! you don't ruin food that comes in a box!" 
i put back my funfetti (reluctantly - i just love a good funfetti cupcake) and grabbed two boxes of cheesecake kits, and checked out.

i decided that the least messy way to serve the cheesecake would be in cupcake form. i plopped 24 liners into my handy dandy cupcaker holder (thanks, behrns family), stirred the crust mix, pressed a bit into the bottom of each liner, whisked some milk into the cheesecake mix, spooned a bit into each liner, and refrigerated. an hour later, i squeezed some fruit onto each cupcake and voila!
(this is not a picture of my actual cheesecakes, but they seriously looked exactly like these. except i made both cherry and strawberry.)

it ended up delicious, the office was impressed, and erin liked it too, which was the most important part.

this is a first that i will repeat. maybe a lot. 


#38 wearing a snuggie at work

reason number 23978 that virginia is not my favorite place: it is cold. okay, i realize that there are colder places one could live, and i also realize that i could learn to bundle up a whole lot better, and i also realize there are starving kids in africa, but i am a spoiled southern california girl in a foreign land. yesterday, it was 54 degrees here and i was filled with inordinate amounts of joy. i thought the winter was over! spring had sprung early! i could stop taking the vitamin d pills the doctor prescribed and start laying out in the sun any day now! buster and i took a leisurely walk at the park, where birds tweeted, the sun glimmered on the lake, and other cliche idyllic things happened. ah, yesterday! 

today it is 38 degrees with a wind chill factor that makes it feel like 25 degrees.

i've found that even if i wear a sweater and pants and leggings under my pants to work, i am still cold. always cold. so very cold. i end up working in my coat, which is kind of stiff and not really made for hours at a desk. i complained about this one day a few weeks ago, and one of my coworkers said she had an extra snuggie that i could use. two days later she brought it to me, and voila! 

it's a blanket with sleeves!
here i am, pretending to work. i highly recommend this (i mean wearing a snuggie at work, not pretending to work). i feel simultaneously warmer and...cooler. the valid excuse to wear a snuggie at work makes the cold much more bearable. that's a half point for virginia. way to go, you lame, lame state.

(photo credit: courtney cameron, who lives on the other side of my cubicle.)
(snuggie credit: megan comer, who lives on the other other side of my cubicle.)


guest post #4 going on a spur-of-the-moment vacation

and now, a post from erin matzen, my coworker and friend. check out her blog, which is tracking her weight loss journey, here: lbsdroppin.blogspot.com

I thought I was going to have a quiet Christmas this year...and I was wrong.  In late November, I called my mom to talk about holiday plans. We figured out we wouldn't get to spend Christmas together for various reasons, so she asked me if I wanted to use her hotel points since she had enough for a free room.  I gave her a cheerful “Maybe!” but I knew I really wouldn’t use them.  Joe and I had just gone on a honeymoon four months earlier…we didn’t need to go anywhere!  

Well, not three days later, I got an email from my cousin who had two flight vouchers that had to be used by 12/31/10. She didn’t have time to go anywhere and didn’t really have the money for lodging once she got somewhere, so she asked me if I wanted to buy them for $175. Total. For both. I flipped – of course I did! After a discussion with the husband, we decided to leap at the opportunity. We decided on a trip to the West Coast - Las Vegas and Phoenix, here we COME! Here are some highlights from an amazing, packed trip:

First, we flew into Vegas and used my mom’s hotel points to spend a free night in a moderately sketchy hotel several blocks off of the strip. After darting in the hotel sans our luggage because of a scary vagrant lingering near our car (what’s up, sketchy guy), we crashed into our moderately comfortable room. We woke up early the next day – my husband had planned a very intensive itinerary for us – and drove to the Hoover Dam. We took the “Dam Tour,” where we went into what used to be tunnels to re-direct the Colorado River, learned about how the dam was built, went into the room that housed the generators, and walked across the dam from Nevada into New Mexico and back.  All in all, we crossed the MST/PST time zone line about six times. At one point, I was standing in Arizona and the husband was in Nevada.  

After this adventure, we drove to the Valley of Fire. We drove across the flat desert, and then out of nowhere these giant rock formations appeared and it really did look like fire compared to everything else. I have never seen anything quite this color, and the photographs do nothing to capture how vivid these rocks are. We saw petrified logs and I climbed one of the “beehive” formations, further proving I am going to be a bad example to my children because four little boys followed me up there, much to their parents chagrin. Sorry, parents. We stayed until sunset and it was gorgeous seeing the sunset on the desert and behind monolithic rock formations. The coolest part was seeing the petroglyphs, which are ancient Indian drawing in the rocks. The entire trip I was silently praising the Lord – it’s amazing what He has created for us to enjoy.

After this excursion, we began the long drive to Phoenix.  For some reason, we decided not to go back into Vegas and stopped for gas on the outskirts.  We tried to find somewhere to eat.  The only place for miles and miles was the Hacienda casino, right across from the gas station.  We figured “might as well” and went in, ate a buffet, and blew some money gambling.  We then continued the long long long  boring drive through the desert in the pitch black night.  At 9 pm, Pacific time, we were sitting in an In-n-Out Burger (my first In-n-Out, and it met ALL expectations!) and I said “HAPPY NEW YEAR!  It’s 2011 in Virginia." I continued this for the next three hours until it was 2011 in all four time zones.  Yep, I’m a dork.

When we drove into Phoenix, I thought the city was burning down. Seriously. Turns out, Phnx has “the brown cloud,” a giant smog problem. I am so glad the east coast doesn’t have smog.  We went to a football game, which was a lot of fun even though I have no affiliation to either team. We went to the pre-game party and were given so many free bags of the new Artisan Tostitos I could’ve opened up a store. Instead I ate them and felt horribly sick afterwards. 

Day three, we drove to the Grand Canyon, which was breath-taking. Again, continual praises to God for this creation.   We drove along the canyon rim, stopped at each lookout point, and took ridiculous amounts of pictures.  It wasn’t quite what I expected, but it was so massive and impressive. Also, I wasn’t expecting snow. The snow made everything so peaceful and majestic; however, I had flimsy shoes and no socks.  Not a good combination, but I survived.

After this amazing experience, we trudged back to Vegas. We got into the city around 9:30, cruised the strip people watching for a moment, and then arrived at the Mirage, where we were staying. We parked in time to see the volcano erupt…COOL!  When we got back to the hotel we were exhausted. We set the alarm for 2 am – Vegas never sleeps and we figured we’d explore the casino downstairs then. Negative, my friend. The alarm went off, we hit the OFF button, and slept until 9:30 am. We went to the breakfast buffet at the Flamingo and sat next to a window where cool water fowl and giant koi swim in a moat surrounding the actual flamingo habitat.  Then we headed back to the Mirage and went to Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and see dolphins, lions, tigers, and a panther! Joe played in a poker tournament and I wandered around the slot machines. We bet money on the Virginia Tech game, went to the buffet at the Bellagio (aMAZing) and went back to the room to watch the Orange Bowl to see our team get smashed. Then we spent several more hours downstairs feeding the slot machine our money. Overall our time in Vegas was pretty lame because we were so tired from our other adventures. We plan to go back to Vegas and do it “right” next year.  Haha!

So, very long story short, I love the desert. And I love the western part of this country. My trip was fun and I wish more people will sell me ridiculously cheap tickets to go somewhere I’ve never been before and write about it. Maybe I need to write a letter to the Travel Channel……..


#37 hibachi!

last night i went to hibachi for the first time. the occasions were plentiful: arabella's little brother was in town, shep's pals were in town, chadley was hungry, and shep and arab wanted to celebrate squirmy mcgee (our fetus). we ended up at wasabi, a hibachi grill in norfolk. from the outside, it looked like one of those shady restaurants that i tend to always suspect are fronts for drug circles or brothels, but once inside, it was more spacious and classy than i'd have imagined. (i am still 98% certain that this discount bread shop by our apartment is drug central though - i mean, the place has a huge property, is open approximately 40 hours a week, employs at least three ladies for those whole 40 hours, and sells $1 bread. it just doesn't add up.)

since we had a group of eight, we had our own table/grill, which was nice because then we wouldn't have to stare across the table/grill at strangers. except our table/grill was facing another table/grill, and at one point i looked up and felt like we should perform something for the audience over there. we didn't. 

the waitress came and i ordered the teriyaki chicken. then she brought onion soup, which was just some weird broth, but i liked the shape of the spoon so much that i ate a lot of it. next was a house salad, which had the most amazing dressing on it. i really could have had that to drink. it would have tasted better than the water i had picked. i just hate water.

then the hibachi chef arrived. he flipped his utensils around like nun-chucks, and i was mesmerized. he poured the rice onto the grill and did some fancy egg cracking, and i was in awe. then he lit the whole thing on fire and i was amazed. he also made a little tower out of rings of onions, then made fire spurt out of that and shouted "JAPANESE VOLCANO!"

then he cooked some meat, which is something i could have done myself. not impressive. 

finally, he cooked some shrimp and tossed it into people's mouths. i didn't really want him to toss any at me, and my reasons were threefold: 1. i don't really like shrimp, as you may recall. 2. i've never really been good at catching even smaller things - like m&ms or popcorn - in my mouth, so shrimp seemed impossible. 3. i was a little afraid it would be super hot.

well, chadley caught some, no problem. arabella looked like a little seal catching hers, no problem. so i decided sure, why not? he tossed a shrimp at me and it bounced off the corner of my mouth and splatted on the floor. he tried again and it hit my teeth and plopped on the table. lame. i did not wish to further subject myself to this takahirofoolery (that's tomfoolery with tom replaced by a common male japanese name, in case you're wondering), so the chef moved on. 

in conclusion, the food was delicious (except i wish i'd picked the steak and i still don't like shrimp), the chef was entertaining, and i do not have a future in catching food in my mouth, though i'm not sure that anyone really does. this is a first worth repeating. 
(i don't know why i'm making that face.)


#36 peeing on a stick

i have peed in a forest on a camping trip. i have peed in the ocean, both atlantic and pacific (oh shut up, you have too). i have peed in a cup for a physical for high school sports. but never before had i peed on a stick.

i won't go into what really started this stick adventure (i encourage you to read a biology book or ask your mom about that), but i'll tell you what triggered me wanting to take the test. you may recall my speeding ticket in the beginning of november. if not, here's a refresher: http://fazawesome.blogspot.com/2010/11/34-getting-speeding-ticket.html. my description of my breakdown after getting the ticket was not in any way an exaggeration, and it made me wonder if there were extra hormones going on. seemed the only likely explanation.

the next week, jeff and i were out to dinner with some friends and someone made a joke about me getting pregnant some time. that did it - i wanted to clear my mind and find out for sure. after dinner that night, i went to walgreens and bought a pregnancy test.

when i took the test, this is what came up:

can't tell what the response is? yeah, neither could i. when jeff got home, i rushed him upstairs and showed it to him, and both of us were confused. what did a faint line mean?! we decided not to react until we figured out what it meant.

the next day, i googled "faint pregnancy test line" (i am a brilliant researcher), and discovered that any little hint of a line meant i was pregnant and it's pretty freaking accurate. in conclusion, we're having a baby, due july 9th! (arabella would like to add, "jeff shot, he scored!" which i thought was rather crass and did not see fit to include.) 

and that's the story of the first time i peed on a stick.

the end.