Saturday, May 31, 2008


Just a quick announcement to congratulate Mommy Daisy on being the winner of the gorgeous nursing cover from Beth at Valley Momma Boutique! Thank you so much, Beth, for sponsoring this contest; it was a lot of fun! And thanks to all who entered the drawing.
Also, be sure to head to Beth's blog to enter her June contest- the prize is an awesome WASHABLE carseat cover that you can actually remove without screwdrivers, sweat, and swear words! And they're SO cool- so actually, on second thought, don't go over there. Do not enter the contest. I want to win!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Anatomy of a House Showing

Friday evening- Receive call from realtor announcing a showing on Wednesday at four thirty.

Saturday morning- Begin worrying about curb appeal of house; decide to spend Memorial Day weekend extending flower bed, putting in edger stones around flower bed, weeding, and planting. Make three trips to Home Depot and one to Meijer to purchase supplies, while husband does lion's share of actual, physical work. Feel guilty and do a little actual, physical work oneself.

Sunday and Monday- Refer to above.

Tuesday- Dust living room and master bedroom, clean and organize lots of random shelves, and scrub stove top. Vacuum upholstery, wash throw blankets, put away laundry, straighten up kids' rooms.

Wednesday- Clean bathroom, vacuum carpets, dust den, sweep kitchen and laundry room. Quickly re-dust living room, where dog hair has settled overnight. Wash, dry, and put away two more loads of laundry. Unload and load dishwasher. Scrub kitchen counters. Make beds. Empty trash cans. Wipe fingerprints from windows and TVs.

Wednesday evening- Get another call from realtor asking to show the house next day at noon. Foolishly agree, even while being aware that you are babysitting two other kids next morning and will be hard pressed to keep up the tidiness while entertaining and feeding four children.

Thursday morning- Keep kids outside as much as possible, even going so far as to put them to work sweeping your front porch. "Help" them pick up Care Bears, Lincoln Logs, Legos, and play kitchen food, load dishwasher with sippy cups and plates, wipe fingerprints off coffee and kitchen tables, and clean up some dubious looking bathroom messes. Make beds. Take kids to meet your mom for lunch. Wonder what you would do without her to help you entertain children in restaurant.

Thursday evening
- Reaffirm decision to take house off market if these two showings don't result in anything further. Especially as your realtor also called to tell you that once again an offer has been made on the house you want, and it looks like you may lose it. Sigh in combined dismay and relief. Ponder a summer of fixing up your house and yard just as you want it, without worrying about what might appeal to strangers who are, for all you know, just touring area houses for the heck of it and have no intention of buying the house you just feverishly cleaned for them. Sigh again. It is all relief, that sigh. Contentment and relief.

P.S. The contest for the nursing cover is officially CLOSED, so stay tuned for the announcement of the lucky winner!

Friday, May 23, 2008

All About Etsy

Firstly, my sister has opened an Etsy shop of her very own on my recommendation! I know lots of ya'll LOVE yourself some Etsy artisans, so if you need a colorful painting to liven up a room of your house or office and don't want some boring mass reproduction print such as I have in MY house, check out Rachel's stuff at An Abstract Opinion.

Secondly, Beth from Valley Momma Boutique has asked me to host (hostess?) a giveaway for her! She makes these gorgeous nursing covers pictured above (along with lots of other cute stuff!) and the lucky winner will receive one of her very own! And these are design your own covers, which means you'll get to peruse the fabric choices Beth has and order one up to suit your own style! Very cool, yes?
All you have to do to be entered in the drawing is leave me a comment answering the following question: What is your favorite piece of furniture?
Her answer is her recliner, although she says she rarely has time to veg out. My answer would be my glider, which Jim bought as a Mother's Day present while I was pregnant with Addy. I have nursed babies in that chair for going on three years now, so it has a special place in my heart.
Tell us about YOUR favorite!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Lots Of Pictures, A Couple Of Words

Why, look at that! I've gone blond! And dropped twenty pounds! Oh no wait, that's Eli's Aunt Laura.

Here we have a handsome- and TOOTHY- little mankins sporting his new elephant onesie courtesy of Elizabeth at Elephant Ears, courtesy of Swistle's contest. (Courtesy of me being a genius WINNER! ahem.) Please disregard filthy doormat behind cute child. Focus on cute child! (Interesting side note: Elizabeth's son is also named Eli. Coincidence? I think not.)

Here is Eli with his little buddy Gabriel (by little I of course mean, one day OLDER. Whatever. It's late.) Aren't they just EATABLE? I cannot resist squeezing them. Sometimes I pinch their cheeks simultaneously. That's a lot of cheek.

Eli already demonstrates a remarkable thirst for knowledge. A young scholar, he is.

I know, I know. We've got to get him off the 'roids. Enough is enough.

Speaking of which, there are actually MORE pictures I wanted to post, but I've become some sort of unstoppable lunatic, I'm sensing, and I may tomorrow check back and wonder why I thought these were all so post-worthy. I am extremely tired (thank you, dog running away and wandering the neighborhood barking all night! Also thank you, first attempt at night weaning, for doing your part to contribute to my zombie state.)
Also, for all you who were begging, nay, outright DEMANDING photographic evidence of my tanness, thinness, blond-ishness, and glittery glory, never fear. I am getting my mom to scan some pictures for me so I can put my bridal radiance out there for everyone to see.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Spoiler Alert: Very Hot Anecdotes!

The happy couple, taking in the World Expo of Beer.

Jim and I got back this evening from our romantic anniversary getaway. We went to a tourist-y little "Bavarian" village about three hours from our hometown, where they were hosting a beer tasting event on Friday night. It was wonderful to enjoy conversation in the car without screaming/whining/kids DVD noise from the backseat, and to enjoy meals without having to cut crusts off sandwiches or spoon carrots into gaping little pie holes.
You know what else was wonderful? Sleeping ALL. NIGHT. LONG. without interruption. I felt positively DRUNK with sleep when I woke up this morning. It was glorious! As was the novelty of flipping through a full range of cable before bed, after a year of having just the basic local channels. HBO! HGTV! Heaven! The novelty was only slightly dampened by the necessity of keeping our respective blanket cocoons tightly sealed around our bodies so as to avoid GASSING each other TO DEATH.
You remember that beer tasting event I mentioned? Did I also mention that along with our beer samples, we enjoyed between us a walking taco, a pile of onion rings, three bratwursts with sauerkraut, and several FRIED OREOS? The after-effects of this culinary smorgasbord on one's digestive system are not exactly FOREPLAY, if you understand what I'm saying. It was SO AWFUL. It was the exact OPPOSITE of what you're hoping for on a night for which you have optimistically purchased see-through black negligee.

Ill advised sampling of the local culture. Lovers, take note.

You know what else is not what you're hoping for? This: to be strolling hand in hand down the replica German cobblestone, having just SECONDS before professed your love for each other, and then hear your husband, referencing the pair of leashed mastiffs also strolling the village, marvel, "Can you imagine how much those dogs must CRAP?!"
Yes, we are a pair of sentimental fools, what with our indigestion and our talk of DOG FECES. AND THERE'S MORE. On the way home, passing a sleazy adult book and video store off the highway, I commented, "Huh. Bet they wouldn't even CONSIDER me anymore, what with these stretch marks and saggy boobs, huh?" But instead of replying in a similarly lighthearted/obviously sarcastic manner, Jim said comfortingly- AND SERIOUSLY- "Well, they have some that they keep really dark, to hide things. They'd probably use you!"

I'd look hotter in lower lighting, apparently.

(We actually did have a lot of fun. We laughed a lot, which fifty years from now is probably all we'll remember. The flatulence and the talk of crap and strip joints will have faded into total obscurity!)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Four Years

Four years ago, I was dressed in a button down shirt, still no makeup on, getting my hair done with my bridesmaids. I was nineteen, as was my maid of honor. My bridesmaids were eighteen, seventeen, sixteen, and fifteen. We all had long, layered hair down our backs, all but one with basically identical blond highlights, and we all owned Cover Girl Disco Ball eyeshadow. We all had undergone an intense tanning regimen in the week prior to the wedding. We were thin, and pretty, and there was nary a wrinkle or a stretch mark among us.
I was strangely calm all day. I think the only time I felt anything approaching nervousness was when my makeup artist got bumped and stabbed me in the eye with an eyeliner pencil. My eye teared up immediately, and I leaped from the chair in panic, dabbing with Kleenex to make sure the rest of my face didn't get ruined. Other than that, it was a perfect day, unmarred by anything other than perhaps the excessive face and body shimmer/GLITTER I insisted on applying.
I remember feeling beautiful, and blissfully happy, and very sure of my decision. There was no hesitating in the church vestibule, a la Charlotte of Sex and the City. As we stood before the minister, I remember hearing the ceremony only vaguely, but being very very aware of how lucky I felt to have already found the person I wanted to be with forever. During the vows, I don't remember crying or even choking up. I just remember that my face hurt from smiling so hard. But I couldn't have stopped if I'd wanted to.

Four years, three pregnancies, two babies, and one move later, my face still hurts, so to speak. I still sometimes get that pinch-me-I'm-dreaming feeling. (I notice it usually happens now when we're smiling down together on a SLEEPING child.) The years have felt crazy and jam-packed, and I still haven't caught my breath since the honeymoon, but they have without question been the happiest years of my life.
I haven't felt blissful every second. We have each lost two grandparents since our marriage, and have been through several rough patches of pregnancy related scares and health and money issues. Sometimes I've felt frustrated and resentful, frightened and sad. Often I've felt hormonal and pregnant and miserable. Occasionally I've felt furious. And more than once I've felt overwhelmed, misunderstood and unappreciated. I have no doubt but that Jim has felt the same (hormonal and pregnant being the possible exceptions to that rule.)
But more often I have felt cherished and loved. I have been comforted when I was sad, reassured when I was insecure, and refocused when my perspective was lost. I have been complimented when I saw only stretch marks and puffiness, and encouraged when I was stuck in my usual mental patterns of fear and negativity. I have been hugged when I only wanted to lash out, and I have been forced to communicate when I would have preferred to passive-aggressively sulk in a corner.
I have learned to enjoy (some) sports, the outdoors, exercise, beer, and bratwurst, all of which I had loathed prior to marriage. I have left my comfort zone. Mostly, I have liked it. I have learned to worry far less about what other people might possibly be thinking about me. I have learned to relax and enjoy my life as an experience, rather than as some sort of performance which is being judged by an audience of peers. I have learned to care less, and thereby, live more. I rarely think about calories, for instance. I am always forgetting to wash my makeup off- when I even WEAR makeup. I actually own sweatshirts and track pants. I can sort of keep up with sports conversations. I have seen We Own The Night three times, voluntarily. I have evolved.

I can only imagine where four more years will take me. I love you, honey! Happy anniversary!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Don't Hate Me...

...But I actually have NOTHING to complain/be wounded about re: Mother's Day. Au contraire, in fact! At the risk of sounding smug and making you all delete me from your feeders, my husband is SO nice!

Reason the first: Did in fact remember that it was Mother's Day. Even this is deserving of points.

Reason the second: Made breakfast. Involving bacon, so, score!

Reason the third: Made two cards, one from kids, which included a gift certificate for a massage, and one from him including a gift card. A gift card specifically designated for a bathing suit, which I had been randomly complaining about needing but had NOT asked for and did not expect.

Reason the fourth: Both cards had funny little POEMS in them, which I loved.

Reason the fifth: (BIG reason here) Remembered weeks in advance that our anniversary is this Thursday. Arranged for babysitting and a night away this Friday. Like, OVERNIGHT. A date that lasts for TWO SOLID DAYS. That I did not have to plan for. Again. REMEMBERED ANNIVERSARY without prompting.

Everyone sufficiently impressed?
Now, I realize I am greatly veering from my usual format of moaning and kvetching here. I'll try to sound bitter and ungrateful again next post, I promise.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Reproductive Empowerment! Er, I Mean, Happy Mother's Day!

Just for you, Tessie, here's a nice sappy Mother's Day post topic (and boys, here's a fervent warning to get out now): friends, tell me about your cervical fluid. Or more specifically (and less horrifically,) do you observe it, as such? Do you chart it and discuss its condition with your sexual partner? Because with the long-awaited advent of my first postpartum period, I am now faced with once again pondering a Birth Control Decision, and I'm leaning heavily towards trying the Fertility Awareness Method as outlined in Taking Charge of Your Fertility.
If you're unfamiliar with the concept and don't feel like clicking linkies, basically the FAM is a method of tracking your cycle to either achieve or avoid pregnancy. It involves the generally familiar concept of taking your basal body temp, but just for funsies, also throws in the daily observation and TRACKING on GRAPHS of your cervical fluid condition. Like, essentially giving yourself a nice little pelvic exam every morning.
It is a bit Fussypants, admittedly, which is very not me. There is much charting and temperature taking and self control, and I don't have a brilliant track record with any of those. But I have an even worse track record with most other b.c. options. Mirena and other IUD types just plain freak me out, we want more kids so any tying or snipping of things is out of the question, and the idea of screwing with my hormones long term (aka The Pill) kind of worries me. Also, it makes me feel like crap. And all the so-called barrier methods and sprays and foams and sponges are just... Gaah! Baffling! Messy! Requiring forethought! Un-fun!
(Bitter Side Rant: Boy, there are just SO MANY appealing options for birth control, no? And all are so particularly simple and convenient for the WOMAN! Which is thoughtful, since she has to deal with PMS and periods and pap smears and fibroids and cysts and menopause and pregnancy and BIRTH and all. At least the men have to handle the messy details in ONE area of family planning, at least. OH WAIT...)
So has anyone else tried this method? Is it worth the work? Or am I just going to end up pregnant and once again concerned with things other than birth control?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Go Sell Crazy Some Place Else- We're All Stocked Up Here

Ahh. You know that feeling, when you're standing on a kitchen chair, ridding the cereal cupboard of its taunting, antennae-waving intruders using only a paper towel and the force of your own kill-crazy ant hatred? And in between your little girly noises of revulsion and your muttered cursing of the so-called exterminators, you realize that it's possible your little red choo choo has finally chugged around the bend?

Or when you're laying in bed at three in the morning, listening resignedly to the escalating noise in the nursery next door, and you actually start crying a little because it's possible that DYING would feel better than being woken up One. More. Time. in the same sleep cycle?

Or when you're trying to get all the laundry done for another showing and you realize you've processed your single pair of jeans that fit properly through the wash about three times already this week? Who says housekeeping is unfulfilling and just an exercise in futility?!

Or the Schwann man comes to the door, and it dawns on you that he is now inquiring automatically as to your corn dog and frozen pizza status?

Or you're watching P.S. I Love You with your sister and can only summon up the emotional fortitude to throw back your cheap wine and scoff bitterly, "Oh please! That's not a real argument! That's just foreplay." And later, "What is with her schizo outfit? Am I the only one who just finds this girl annoying, and also, a TERRIBLE kisser?" While your less emotionally stunted sister is wiping tears?

Or you blithely volunteer to bring a salad to church for a post funeral dinner, no less, and then just as blithely forget about it until someone calls you to kindly ask if you maybe left the salad somewhere they weren't looking? Cue giant, self-loathing forehead smack. "Um, yes, I left it on the third shelf of my brain, right next to the spot where I like to pile up all my to-do lists and goals for safe keeping while I am otherwise occupied by wiping noses with my sleeve and changing six to eight poopy diapers per day."

Speaking of! Ever have that feeling, as you're scrubbing chewed up dirty diaper remnants out of the carpet for the third time in one week, that it's a good thing you've clung so staunchly to your fear of guns in the home, because if you currently had access to one you can't vouch for what you'd do with it? Fonzie? Do you hear me?

Saturday, May 03, 2008

I Win I Win I Am A WINNER!

You GUYS! Eeek! I was one of three first place winners in Swistle's name contest! I just about passed out from the joy of it. Winning this prize has restored my faith in the ultimate balance and justice of the universe, because, seriously? This really has been a crappy couple of weeks. And then Jim was out of town overnight for business, and the baby was SO fussy and just newborn-like (feeding all night, leaking through multiple diapers and into my shirt at three in the morning, etc.) the whole time, and I've been cleaning this ever-loving house for FIVE HOURS STRAIGHT in preparation for our open house tomorrow and.... Well. I wasn't even going to get on the computer tonight, just wanted to crash into bed from exhaustion, but I was all, "Gotta check out the Swistle contest, at least."
I'm so glad I did. Visions of adorable elephant onesies will be dancing through my head tonight.
I WON! I never win ANYTHING! Go me!