Sunday, December 30, 2007

Nursery Necessities

Take a tour with me around the nursery! One year ago today we moved into this home. Leah's blue room was never put together and fully furnished and organized until...yesterday!

I'm so glad for the nesting bug this week, and for the ambition that comes with knowing that I will have a baby within the next 8 days! There are certain things that definately had to happen; acquiring and putting together a second crib was certainly one of those abosolutes. I found our second one on Craigslist with the mattress for only $100 and in addition to being very attractive, it is also in very good condition.

I brought it home and Chris and I set to work to put it together in an alloted hour before we went to a friends' house for dinner. This one was a little more complicated than our other crib. It had metal rods, springs, lots of screws...we had no idea how to put it together! We printed off the pictures from the sale ad hoping to get some clues about which goes where and what is up or down. Not much help. Dejectedly, we abandoned the project to go to dinner.

We had dinner with Chris' coworker Sharon and her husband Tracey, who have a two month old baby. After dinner, Chris and the rest of the gang settled in for a four hour UFC fight night and I was left to myself and my two-year old. What was I possibly going to do to entertain myself for so long and keep my child happy while she's up way past her bedtime?

Then I noticed it. In the baby's room were the parts to their baby's new crib they'd gotten at a garage sale, a bag of hardware, and assembly instructions. And did I mention it was almost the exact same crib that I'd bought for Samuel that very afternoon? Knowing that I would expose my true self as the strange dinner-guest who likes to put things together, I asked for a screwdriver and hesitantly offered to put together their crib for them. "No, I'm serious. Will you let me put this together for you?" She gave me the okay and I set to work. Would you have passed up such a golden opportunity?

In a matter of an hour, I had successfully assembled their crib and committed the instructions to memory. Once at home at 11:00 that night, I successfully repeated the procedure on our crib in a mere ten minutes. Wahoo!

We now have side-by side cribs-Samuel's all set up with matching Pooh layette-and the room is fully furnished with a functional and stocked dresser/changing table, my glider, and a bookshelf. It really looks like a nursery finally! I think I'm ready for a baby to come!

Meanwhile, I feel like the baby is going to fall out any minute, and my skin is on too tight. My insides are crushed by the baby and my reflux is unbearable(chocolate making the symptoms worse, of course). I'm glad we're in the home stretch!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Weekend Update

So we've recovered from our candy hangovers enough to blog again. Christmas was a blast! We were blessed with a generous bounty from our loving friends and family. Leah was privileged to receive all manner of movies, books, toys, and treats, wanting to spend time with each one before putting it down to open another. The biggest hits are her Little People garage with accompanying "toy man," several new cars, the fish-themed crib mobile her little brother got, and of course, the empty boxes. Chris is excited to have some new books on investing, the party game Cranium, some new socks and a belt, a power drill (which is a dream for this DIY mom, too!) and of course the Cinnamon Toast Crunch that Santa brought, not to mention a first-generation XBox to satisfy his gaming fix while the 360 is new and expensive. I got some books, new kitchen things including a fantastic bread maker (Hooray!), a couch cover since I can't stand the thought of spit-up saturating our nice new couch, fuzzy new slippers, and much, much more. We are so blessed. Thank you to all our Santas for your generous and thoughtful gifts!

On the baby front, this one is riding low! You may or may not be able to tell from the picture, but this baby has dropped and my shape is much rounder than it was a week ago (and trust me, my innards can tell!) People always have to comment on the size of a pregnant woman's belly (why is that exactly?) and this week the comment of note was "Wow, you're really pregnant!" Yes, thank you for the needed acknowledgement that I have indeed done my time.

Thursday the doctor offered to get me started on the labor train in time to have a tax-break baby and I declined. Am I insane? I just needed to finish things like the laundry, putting together a nursery, putting away Christmas, I still have to clean the just didn't seem like the right time. But, he's got me scheduled for an induction on the 7th and I'm hoping for the same offer (of stripping the membranes) when I go in again on the 3rd. I like the idea of going into labor on my own, but I don't necessarily want to be pregnant for an entire two weeks or longer. I'm so grateful for a sympathetic doctor!

In honor of having paid my pregnancy dues and in preparation for the dues of labor, I treated myself to some Pre-Baby Pampering yesterday. Thanks to my accommodating husband, I slept in and had breakfast in bed. Then my friend Michal and I had lunch together and got pedicures and pigged out at Cold Stone. Now my toes are ready for baby to come! I needed the warm fuzzy feeling...

At the prospect of possibly having a baby next weekend, it was time to get serious about nesting. I revisited the furniture options for the kids' room and tightened all the screws on Leah's dresser to make it once again usable as a dresser and changing table, I succumbed and bought a second crib on Craigslist, and finally found a decent bookshelf. What a difference it makes to be organized. It's starting to look like a nursery finally! Next on the docket is to clean all the light fixtures, scrub down and vacuum my couch so I can put my couch cover on, stock up on diapers and wipes for two, vacuum and dust the entire house, make a budget for 2008, teach Chris how to blog post so he can put up baby pictures, and the list goes on. I don't exactly get as much done in one day as I ever expect...some things I'm sure will not get done at all! For example, today instead of cleaning I did errands, blogged, and made a pie.

In the mean time, this is my 100th post, we have dinner plans with friends, Chris is enjoying a long weekend sans work or homework, we are glad to have a little more time to prepare for baby and some predictability in when he will arrive, and we are thrilled that Leah continues to be such a good girl.

That's a wrap...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Candies, Confections, and Crafts

It's the holidays, and you just can't have Christmas Eve without egg nog, sappy music, family games, and of course a plethera of treats to munch on. So I've set to work in the kitchen over the past week. I've made fudge (which never did set past a gloop stage...any tips?), 3 batches of mini banana bread loaves, toffee (the first thing to get completely devoured), and seven dozen snowball cookies (aka Russian Tea Cakes, aka Mexican Wedding cookies, etc). I've used several pounds of butter, chocolate, and walnuts, and almost an entire 5 lb bag of sugar, plus I've cleaned the kitchen at least half a dozen times (so why does it still look like a blizzard of confectioner sugar?) and had a resultant stomach ache every night since.

I had planned to make all these tasty delights in time for our party on Saturday, but you know, falling down the stairs forced me to slow down a little and take a break. The party was a great success--we had a good turnout of about a dozen people, which was just the right amount. And nobody seemed to mind that my fudge was more gloppy than anything else and that I didn't serve more homemade cookies, a veggie platter, pesto cheese tarts, or chips and dip. Everybody brought something tasty to share and I didn't have to stress out. For the record, we were planning on visiting the dentist soon anyway and both of us have Weight Watchers on our radar for next year.

So not only did I feel the need to deliver plates of goodies to our neighbors and friends, but I had to stamp too. I made these cute little cocoa pouches with snowman tags and a candy cane. There's just something addicting about this kind of activity that makes it really hard for me to stop making them...

And lastly, here's our tree. We are hoping to find our remote control tomorrow buried underneath presents, because we can't think of anywhere else it could possibly be!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Baby Story: Part I

A few weeks ago, my brother sent me a great article discussing why pregnant women don't fall over. It's really fun to read, and talks about the evolution of the human spine compensating for the forward-heaviness of women during pregnancy, and is worth a read. Here's what I want to know: How does a forward-heavy pregnant woman carrying a 25lb toddler on her front topple over backwards?

This is what I did Friday, 10am. Down the stairs.

I'm a little shaken up, but not nearly as much as the two-year old who is completely unharmed and is merely responding to my loud shout as I went down...and down and down. I would probably have responded with much more hysteria if I hadn't had to calm her down first. I do get a nasty rugburn and am kind of sore, but other than that I can walk around and don't feel like anything is broken. Still, I feel I need to check with my doctor, who tells me to go to the hospital just to make sure everything is okay.

11am, at the hospital. They hook me up to a fetal monitor and the baby's heartbeat sounds great. That's a relief. But they won't let me eat lunch because they're waiting for the results of a blood test that would indicate if the placenta has abrupted from the uterus...which would be a serious problem. I have to have an empty stomach in case they do an emergency C-section. Woah! I was planning on doing laundry and making cookies and cleaning the kitchen today, not having a baby! They tell me they will keep me there for four hours while we wait for the test results.

1:00pm, A neighbor takes Leah for us, and my good husband stays by my side offering to get me anything I need. All I really want is lunch, and that's out of the question. So we wait.

5:00pm, The doctor checks in to say the test results are normal. I'm having contractions every 3-5 minutes, but they aren't painful. The doc didn't stop the contractions since I'm just about full-term anyway, and stopping the contractions could mask other problems if there were any. There's no risk that the baby is going to fall out...But the contractions could be a symptom of the trauma of falling down the stairs, so the doctor wants me to stay in the hospital overnight just to make sure there isn't any internal bleeding. I am glad that my doctor errs on the side of caution, since sending me home too early and having a problem 1/2 hour later is way worse than an uneventful 24 hour hospital stay. I ask Chris to bring me something to do, and he jokes that he'll bring back a basket of laundry...I'm glad someone has a sense of humor!

6:30pm, Chris brings me Subway and it is soooooo good. Then he leaves me for the night and I settle in to a night of boredom. I watch a movie and talk on the phone and when I go to bed, they give me a sleep aid. Alhtough I wake up a few times, I think I sleep fairly well and have enough pillows to call myself comfortable.

Rx: Rest and Relaxation
On one hand, I don't exactly have the luxury of a change of clothes, a toothbrush, unlimited mobility, and my trusty laptop, but I guess the beauty of the situtation is that I don't have to make or clean up dinner, I don't have to listen to the whines of a 2 year old, and I can sleep until I wake up, not until my two-year old wakes up. In that respect, I get to relax.

Saturday 8:00am, I wake up and eat breakfast, they steal some more blood.

10:30am, The blood test is normal, Chris and Leah come back to pick me up (after peeking at the babies in the nursery, of course), and they let me go home!

1:00 pm I'm at home. I'm showered and cleanly dressed, have finally brushed my teeth and we're hosting a Christmas party in 6 hours. I get a call from the doctor who says I might have to go back to the hospital for another Rhogam shot...he'll get back to me. (Isn't it great to be Rh Neg?)

I'm feeling pretty good and I'm still pregnant. So what do I do next? Go back to the hospital for another blood test? Lay on the couch and moan and make people bring me stuff? Make cookies? Clean the house?

Whatever I do, I'm not falling down the stiars.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Lights out

My husband thought yesterday was very "bloggable" and took pictures for me, so here goes.

The day was wet and cold. Around 6:00 it started hailing! There was thunder and lightening too, which was really weird. Then by 6:30 it was snowing and slushy and slippery...and then the power went out! It was kind of cool to be instantly plunged into total darkness...not to mention the silence since the basal hums of our home were also absent. It's amazing how much light one candle appears to give off when there is no other light source. The entire street was quiet and dark, with soft snow falling peacefully. The only thing missing was Christmas music. Leah was really fascinated by fire and candles. Aside from a tree, my Christmas decorations consist of a garland and two tall white candles on my mantle...I had no intention of ever lighting the candles, but they sure came in handy last night!
Over the course of the next three hours, we carried candles around the house with us and set up a game and played by candle flicker. Fortunately, Chris has no class or homework until January, otherwise it would have been stressful to be without power, but it was actually a lot of fun! When the power came back on at 9:45, we turned the lights back off and kept playing!
Unfortunately, I never cleaned up the dinner dishes or put away clothes and shoes in the dark, and it's no fun to look at now this morning. I guess I have my work cut out for me today!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Projects new and old

Okay, so the cabinet is UP! What a relief! It only took my neighbor half an hour, and he said he likes doing that kind of thing and that if I made him cookies, it wouldn't really count as service. Hmm...still considering that one. Here's the before and after:

Among the myriads of other things I've done this week (or should have done), I took the "what have I got to loose" attitude and submitted 5 stamped projects to the monthly Stampin' Up! contest for demonstrators. I submitted 3 cards, a decorated cocoa holder/pouch, and an embellished book. Here's the covered book I submitted that actually took me almost an hour to create (as my first attempt took me an entire day of General Conference, an hour was a significant improvement...good thing I had an idea of what I was doing this time!) Who knows, I could get 3 free stamp sets if I win, and now I have a better chance of winning than if I hadn't entered at all. Here it is:

Saturday, December 15, 2007

What's in your Fridge?

Once upon a time, I bought Fat Free Ranch Dressing. Apparently, this is an abomination because it just doesn't taste good. I learned my lesson that it doesn't get eaten at my house, and have since adopted the practice of buying Light Ranch Dressing. It tastes much better and still has a lower fat content than regular Ranch Dressing (which is also very good).

Last night we had a green salad with our pork chops. I went to get some ranch out of the fridge for my salad, but all we had was that same 24 oz bottle of Fat Free that is still only 3/4 finished. I couldn't bring myself to eat it, knowing it would taste funny compared to my expectation of how Light or full-fat ranch tastes. I settled for some other creamy dressing and vowed to buy salad dressing the next time I'm at the grocery store.

About to put the inferior salad dressing back in the fridge, I curiously checked the expiration date on the bottle. 12OCT05. What? That bottle of ranch expired over two years ago? That was before our child was born! What's even more appalling, since October of 2005, we have moved twice. This means I have moved that particular condiment from refrigerator to refrigerator two times, and we still have no intention of ever finishing it. I threw it away. How liberating.

Do you know what's lurking in your fridge?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

What it's like to be 8 months pregnant

I woke up at quarter past early because I was absolutely baking, threw off the sheets and removed a layer of sweats only to hear the furnace kick on moments later. I laid in bed for several minutes debating the prospect of getting up to turn the furnace down or staying put where I was somewhat comfortable. After a quarter hour I finally made my mid-night pilgrimage to the bathroom, got a glass of cold water, and turned the furnace down while I was up waddling around. Then I laid back down to go back to sleep.

Ugh...back pain. Although I was no longer hot, I still couldn't get comfortable. I'm supposed to sleep on my side and to facilitate this, I have a half dozen pillows to call my own, including a body pillow to prop up my belly. But sleeping on your side gets old and your hips start to hurt. Plus, your center of gravity is so out of whack that your back screams in protest day and night at having to sustain the weight of a nearly full-grown fetus. I thought I could try propping up all my millions of pillows to make a reclining kind of bed set-up and sleep elevated on my back. No luck. I still laid there awake. Exhausted, yes, but unable to get comfortable enough to actually fall asleep. (This coming from a girl who once fell asleep in gym class.)

Then the reflux kicked in. I downed a couple tums and another glass of water (sentancing myself to another bathroom pilgrimage in two hours).

Then the fetus woke up and proceeded his thrice-daily flexibility routine. No way of positioning my 400 pillows or curling or elongating my torso prevents painful jabs in the ribs, bladder, lungs, or other internal organs.

My two year old whimpered every half hour from her crib (did I turn the furnace down too low?)...My brain started to wake up and make lists of things to do the next day, and part of me wondered if I should just get up and set to work since I was already awake...Did I mention that I had the songs from the Winnie the Pooh movie stuck in my head the whole time? Then I began to recognize the all too familiar pangs of hunger...

By now its quarter to the crack of dawn and I have spent two hours tossing and turning for one reason or another. Soon it will be time to get up regardless of how much sleep I've gotten, and then I'll get to do it again the following night. Charming!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Loving and hating IKEA

Before the Beehive State was blessed with an IKEA of its own, I only got to go when I was in Illinois visiting my parents, and of course I couldn't get anything big because it wouldn't fit in an overhead compartment of a 747 (of course, a limited budget contributed to that problem also). Now that we have an IKEA close by, I've had the chance to get some trendy things I've needed for my home, and to covet everything else!

I really like their household accessories. I got bamboo placemats for, like, $1 each. I got a folding wooden plant stand for $6. You can get ceramic rice bowls for 55 cents each, a small dustpan and brush for $1, a teflon wok for $8, a gigantic roll of butcher paper for $6, a set of matching kids cups, plates, and plasticware for under $10, trendy measuring cups and spoons for about $3 a set, and the list goes on. As for the big stuff, I recently got an attractive solid oak stand/shelf that we use for shoes and gloves by the front door for a modest $50, and a rolling utility cart for the bathroom for $13. I really like browsing through the catalog and strolling through the store and seeing all the coordinating room decor, dreaming of an unlimited budget and full shopping cart bag. I think the prices are good, at least on the items I'm interested in. I love IKEA!

On the other hand, some of their products and some of their ways make me wonder... First of all, I would never buy furniture there unless it was solid wood. In high school I had an IKEA dresser that was mostly particleboard and although trendy and attractive, it turned out to be a piece of junk. Then, whenever I do buy furniture items or other accessories that require assembly, I am thoroughly insulted by the poorly depicted pictorial assembly instructions. Can't they use words? (Then of course I'd be complaining about the poor translation into 14 different languages, right?) How am I supposed to tell which way is up based on the picture? And if all else fails, you're supposed to resort to the last instruction: it is an image of a stick man on the phone with the IKEA store...yeah, I'm sure that would be a great trick in an ideal world!

Last spring I picked up a set of three stainless steel saucepans for $10. What a great deal, right? Within just a few uses, I noticed that the handle on one of the lids had cracked, allowing it to accumulate moisture which them morphed into mold between the lid and handle; then the handle on the actual pot fell off. Oh, and there's the really cool idea of mixing and matching your comforter cover with the polyester filling inside. (Covers come from around $20 and the polyester fill starts at $6 depending on the thickness). In theory, you can change your bedding "as often as you change your clothes" and can put in the heavy winter polyester fill or the light spring one. My only question is how do you get it to stay inside? I frequently wake up only to have the polyester inside taking over my bed and the cover itself a forgotten memory on the floor. At a subsequent visit to the showroom, I examined the show model of this bedding accessory--I was surprised to find that the show model had snaps to keep the opening shut. What a concept! Why doesn't mine have snaps? (I know I could easily add them myself, or a tie, or could just sew it up, but it's the principle here!) So after trying and testing many of those trendy but affordable accessories I'd had my radar on for years, it turns out that some are just a total waste of money. I can't stand IKEA!

I recently bought a cabinet unit from IKEA. For less than $60 I picked out a white cabinet the same size as my existing cabinets (although my cabinets are oak and it won't match anyway). It has a cabinet with a door on the top and an open microwave shelf on the bottom and is meant to be mounted to the wall above the counter where there should have been a cabinet in the first place. Very functional, right? I was impressed that I could piece together this semi-custom item for a decent price. I love IKEA!

I went to pick up my order. The man gave me several flat boxes, a bag of hardware, and a 6-foot long metal mounting bracket. He saw my perplexity at the size of the metal piece. "All the mounting brackets come that length, and you cut it to the right size," he informed me. "How am I supposed to cut it?" "Oh, any metal saw will work." What? A metal saw? Why would I have a metal saw? What have I gotten myself into? I threatened to return the ridiculously over sized stick of metal on the spot and go home without it, but would have had to wait another 20 minutes for them to call my number again...

So I brought it all home and set to work being resourceful with a screwdriver, a hammer, and pictogram instructions. It was almost looking like a cabinet when I discovered the door to the top half was the wrong size. They charged me for the right one, but simply picked the wrong one. No big deal, I guess. Mistakes happen...I'll just go exchange it. Now the cabinet is put together in all it's beauty sitting in my living room (and as a horizontal surface out of a two-year-old's reach has become storage for all manner of clutter-ous things). Our home teacher did us a favor and sawed the microwave shelf to the right depth and bolted it to the bottom shelf of the cabinet, then drilled a monstrous hole through both layers where we can thread the cord for the microwave. (Marketed as a microwave cabinet, shouldn't that have already been done for me?) Hmmm...this is turning out to be a bigger project than I thought. I have an appointment for my neighbor to come by at 8:00 tonight and finally mount it for me. I would have attempted it myself but he said something about finding the studs and how to drill it properly, and I just chickened out. I can put things together myself if all I need is a screwdriver, but actually maiming my wall? I'm not super confident in my ability to do it would likely be crooked or fall on someones head.

What began in September as a realistic and affordable solution to kitchen storage needs has turned into a perpetually unfinished project that demeans my own confidence in myself to solve problems. I hate IKEA!

Monday, December 10, 2007

35 Weeks and counting

At this point in time, I'm counting down, not up. As of today, I have exactly 5 weeks until my due date. I've been feeling...well, like I'm ready to not be pregnant anymore. Baby Samuel is very active day and night, keeping me uncomfortably awake. He often has the hiccups. Meanwhile, I have sore hips, really bad acid reflux, a sweet tooth, and a bad attitude. Here is a picture of me today so you can see this basketball-shaped thing out in front of me (sorry, it's a self-portrait). Compare it to the 22 week picture. I feel like a mutant.

I had a 34 week ultrasound last Monday. Here's what I learned: The baby is growing and healthy. It's still a boy. He has hair. According to head size, I was 36 weeks pregnant. (Great. My kid has a big head.) The baby's head is down, with the spine on my left side and appendages on my right, which explains why I keep getting socked in the ribs and kidneys over there.

Time to start getting excited right? I wish I were more excited...I just know how sleep deprived I will be and can't remember that it didn't last forever. Plus, this time I haven't done hardly anything to prepare. Last time I did a lot of reading, prewashed, folded and refolded a dresser full of cute little pink outfits, gazed longingly at an empty crib and carseat... This time I haven't even thought about actually bringing home a baby. What do I do with my two year old when I'm at the hospital? Where will I put him when I get home? What is he going to wear? Pink? Maybe after the Holidays it will really sink in and I'll start nesting. At least, let's hope!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Google Searches

Since I started tracking my stats in August (using StatCounter), I've noticed some pretty strange internet searches that have landed the viewer on my blog. Here are some of the searches that have led here. Some of them make sense, others not so much:

  • My husband is a miser
  • Pictures of baby in utero
  • I forgot to put in the eggs
  • Twilight preview writing
  • the minutiae elaine seinfeld stinking apartment
  • baby laughing commercial
  • 29 weeks pregnant my baby trembles
  • free toothbrushes for dentists
  • lds women
  • his sympathy weight
  • celine deon salt lake city
  • Is banana bread supposed to be refrigerated
  • Supermom funny checklist
  • Captain belly flop strikes again T-shirt

Yeah, that's what I thought: pretty strange.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving...again!

Yesterday we had Thanksgiving again. Let's just say I needed the practice and we wanted leftovers. I successfully made a turkey! Last year, we sat down to eat with dinner guests and the turkey was still frozen. Then, attempting to slice it into smaller pieces to cook faster, we sliced through the aluminum baking pan and got turkey juice all over the stove. Lets just say it was somewhat of a disaster...

But this year, the turkey was fully cooked on time (it had 8 hours!) and was super juicy and delicious! Here's what we had for dinner: Turkey (I got a 20 lb turkey for $1.5o with all my turkey vouchers!), honey ham, mashed potatoes, gravy made with the turkey drippings, stuffing, corn, cranberry sauce, Rhodes rolls with lots of butter, and green olives, followed by a dessert buffet including pumpkin pie, pecan pie, mango cheesecake, chocolate truffles, and sparkling cider. Nobody had room for egg-nog. It was de-lic-ious.

In the process of creating this meal and serving 6 adults, one two year old, and a nearly full-grown fetus, we exhausted our supplies of china, serving bowls and spoons, silverware, glasses, casserole dishes, pie dishes, counter space, aluminum foil, tupperware, oven mitts, clean dishtowels, and of course, our appetites. We did, however enjoy good company, stuffing ourselves silly again and again, opening early my first Christmas present of the year (more tupperware), packing the freezer with leftovers, and the inevitable I-ate-too-much stomach ache all night long. We dropped the pepper shaker in the gravy, ate dessert with plastic forks, ran the dishwasher three times, and didn't get to bed until 11:00. We also celebrated Leah's birthday and David's birthday. What a terrific day!