Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Vacation Styles

When I was younger, my mom and sister would plan out every second of our vacations. We had at least a half page schedule for each day. My mom can’t go somewhere and NOT see as much as possible. Both she and my sister spent months pouring over guidebooks, picking the sights they want to see, the restaurants they want to try, and the bed and breakfasts where they want to stay. I get it, I really do. Why go to New York City and not go to a couple Broadway shows, a Yankee game, the Statue of Liberty, a helicopter tour, and on and on and on? Plus, they made detailed maps so we (usually) didn’t waste time getting lost or trying to find a restaurant or a place to stay, which was helpful. It sometimes made vacations more like work than being home, though. Yeah, I was seeing great things and I don’t wish I hadn’t seen them, but by the time we were halfway through our vacations I was ready to cry from exhaustion and sensory overload. We’d get up at 7am each day to see as much as possible. I need downtime and lots of sleep and that was not in the schedule.

When I was almost 21, my grandparents took the whole family on a cruise. It was amazing. A vacation where all there is to do is eat, sleep, read, and go to a few shows? HEAVEN. I don’t even like getting off the boat for excursions. I loved it so much, I convinced Thomas we should take a cruise for our honeymoon. He loved it, too, and we went on another cruise this past February. Now that I’m one of the grownups, I finally get to have relaxing vacations! And you know what? Since it’s been almost 4 years since my last sightseeing-packed vacation, I’m kind of missing it. Maybe we need to alternate vacation styles? I don’t know how you would blend them. To me, it kind of feels like you have to pick a style – go-go-go or relaaaaaax – and do that the whole time. Because if we’re going somewhere awesome, like Europe, we should see as much as possible. I feel more comfortable relaxing when that’s what you’re supposed to be doing, so I’m not missing anything. But, pouring over guidebooks is not my thing and I don’t like the planning part of vacations. Maybe I’ll have to travel with my sister and/or mom if I want to see stuff…

What vacation style do you prefer? Does your spouse have the same preference or do you have to compromise? Do you ever mix it up?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Checking in

If you work – or even just use a babysitter occasionally – do you call to check-in every once in a while?  I’m not a compulsive check-in-er.  Most days when I work, even if the kids are at my mom’s - which means I could call as much as I want - I never do.  I know this sounds bad, but I don’t think about them much.  I mean, they’re never really off my mind and I obviously don’t forget they exist, but I don’t worry about how they’re doing.  I know they’re OK.  When I do think about them – maybe if I think one of them might be getting sick and I don’t know if I’ll have to stay home the next day – I obsess about it and barely get anything done.  It’s easier for me if I go into work mode and try not to wonder how things are going or what they’re doing.  I just concentrate on making it through the day.  How about you?  Does checking in on your kids ease your mind or make it harder to keep working?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Two Pumpkin Pies

I got a little ambitious for Paul's infant dedication in October and decided to roast pumpkins to make the pumpkin pie from scratch.
It was an all-day activity and lots of work, but it was also kind of fun. (I'm old and boring.) I pureed the pumpkin and used it to make the pies and a batch of pumpkin butter for the dinner after the dedication. Everyone really liked the pie (and the butter), even the people who don't normally like pumpkin pie. I told them I'd frozen some of the pumpkin so there'd be more made-from-scratch pie at Thanksgiving.

Unfortunately, I couldn't imagine Thanksgiving without the intense pumpkin-ness of pie made from a can. (The from-scratch pie had a more light, fresh taste.) So I decided to make two kinds of pumpkin pie and something that used to be one of the easiest parts of Thanksgiving became complicated.
I only had a big two-pie can of pumpkin puree, so I used half of it to make a pie. Then I got out the frozen homemade puree and made another pie. Then, to use the other half of the canned pumpkin, I made two loaves of pumpkin bread.
The pumpkin pies used to take me 20 minutes. This took 2 hours and dirtied WAY more dishes.
(The little pan in the top middle is pumpkin pie without a crust. My sister can't have gluten, so that was her pie.)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Quick Question Satur...uh, Sunday

Oops, I changed the title of this post right before publishing and didn't realize it then didn't make sense. Sorry! The quick question is: What went through your mind when holding your baby for the first time?

Honestly, the first thing I thought was “Holy s**t, this is an ACTUAL BABY. What have I done? I’m not qualified for this!”

My next thought was “Wow, she’s so much bigger than I thought she’d be!” People (myself included, I guess) go on and on about how tiny newborns are, so I was expecting her to be smaller. Plus, they laid her on my chest, up close to my face right away and all the screaming and wiggling made her seem bigger. I could not believe this much baby had just come out of me. Who knew there was that much room in there? (and she was only 7 lbs 1 oz!)

When Paul was born, my first thought was “It’s over? Really? He’s not in there anymore?” He came REALLY fast and for the rest of the night I had to keep reminding myself I wasn’t still pregnant.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Another meme! Lawyerish made this one up Wendesday and, while it is a meme, it's basically what I was going to write anyway (summary of Thanksgiving).

1. Are you celebrating Thanksgiving at home or elsewhere this year? With whom will you spend Thanksgiving Day?

This was our third year of hosting both sides of the family at our house for Thanksgiving Day. We got so sick of traveling to both sides for every holiday (Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas...maybe something else?) that after we bought a house, we convinced everyone to come for Thanksgiving so we wouldn't have to travel. We just do immediate families (our parents and siblings), so its not too huge. I love having one holiday a year that's both sides combined!

2. What do you have for breakfast on Thanksgiving?

Our normal breakfast or whatever we can scrounge up. This year I never got around to eating until people started showing up with the appetizers (around noon). I was starving.

3. Do you go to a Thanksgiving parade or watch one on TV?

My mom loves the parade and it was always on in our house growing up. I don't really care either way. This year we DVRed it and watched it in the evening after everyone left. The ability to fast forward makes the parade much less boring.

4. Do you serve appetizers, lunch, or snacks during the day (i.e., for the men to eat while they lounge around and watch football)?

We have appetizers around 11:30 or noon and lunch at 1:00 or 1:30. Most people obviously go light on the appetizers to save room for lunch, but not me. The appetizers, especially my aunt's corn/jalepeno/cheese dip are my favorite part of the day so I eat as much as I can.

5. What do you wear on Thanksgiving?

We've always been a jeans/nice sweater kind of family for holidays - including Christmas. (We dress up for the Christmas eve service at church, but for Christmas day we wear jeans/sweaters.)

6. What's your Thanksgiving table like -- do you use special plates/silver/glasses, etc? Do you have a centerpiece? A color scheme? Candles?

We generally use our wedding china when we host, but last year my mom bought a bunch of paper plates and cups on clearance after Thanksgiving since we knew we'd have a tiny baby this year. It was nice to not have to wash dishes, but I do prefer using the china. We use tablecloths, cloth napkins (though this year we had paper napkins that went with the plates), and tea lights in the candle holders we decorated with at our wedding. This year, my mother-in-law picked up some flowers when she ran to the store to get the cool-whip we'd forgotten (oops).

7. Do you serve buffet-style or family-style? What do you have to drink?

Buffet-style. We have long-ish counters in the kitchen and they get covered with food. There's a designated appetizer counter, lunch counter (which extends on to the stove), and dessert counter.

8. Once you're at the table, do you say grace or a toast or does everyone go around and say what they're thankful for?

We say a prayer before heading to the buffet line.

9. Do you have dessert right after the main meal or later on?

After dinner, we usually sit around for awhile, then clean up dinner. Washing all the dishes usually makes us hungry enough to start on the pie. After we finish dessert people usually take off, which kind of bums me out. They all just...leave! This year, my sister presided over the leftover-putting-away while I fed the baby, so I didn't get a chance to force people to pack leftovers to take. Some people took pie, but other than that they left everything. We probably have enough food to host another Thanksgiving. On the one hand, SCORE. On the other...that's a lot of food. (But I'm on it.)

10. What do you do with your leftovers?

Thanksgiving bowls. Stuffing, mashed potatos, corn, and turkey all mixed together. LOVE. I get pretty bummed out when we start running out of items. Mashed potatos/corn/turkey just isn't the same. (I actually buy extra boxes of stuffing because that's my favorite part so I don't want to run out of it first.)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

In my experience, people tend to have one of two extreme opinions on Black Friday. They either think it’s awesome and are excited for it or think it sounds terrible and plan to hide at home all day. I go back and forth depending on the year. Growing up, we were two hours away from any sort of shopping area (we didn’t even have a Target), so if we really wanted to get in on Black Friday we’d have had to get up at 3 am or something to start driving. (This was back before internet shopping when people bought things in places called “stores.”)

In college, I didn’t have much money for gifts, so I continued to ignore it. Then, after I was married and had a job and disposable income, I got REALLY into it (much to my Thomas’ dismay). The biggest appeal was getting all my shopping done so I didn’t have to worry about it in December. I hounded him for the week leading up to Black Friday (What should we get your mom? Does she have this? Would she like that? Is there anything in this ad I can buy for your sister? How about this one?) The next year, he was a little more into it and we studied the ads together and made lists of what stores each of us would go to. We even had a schedule, since Meg was 6 months old and we didn’t want to take her, so someone always had to be home. (This was the year I bought 200+ jars of baby food.)

Last year, morning sickness made me pretty apathetic to everything. We halfheartedly looked through the ads on Thanksgiving night, then went to a couple stores Friday. This year was the same. I’m just so tired (two kids, hosting Thanksgiving for both sides of the family…), I can’t muster the energy required to really go for it.

Did you go shopping? Get anything good? Do you have your Christmas shopping done? Or have you not started yet?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

99 things

I found this while reading k's archives.  I know doing a meme during NaBloPoMo is kind of cheating, but I really like this one.  I think the rest of the NaBloPoMo-ers should do it, too, so I can see their answers!  k could even do it again...

I decided to do it today, because you can only read so many people's lists of what they're thankful for, right? I'll spare you mine, because it mainly contains the usuals - family, health, home. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

99 Things I May or May Not Have Done

(Things I HAVE done are in bold.)

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightening storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch (does knitting count?)
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty (it was closed for repairs when I was in NYC)
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France (the Louve was ALSO closed for repairs when I was in Paris.  I must have bad timing)
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagra Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing (not with actual rocks, but I've been on rock-climbing walls, both indoors and out)
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung Karaoke (not in public, but with the Karaoke machine my grandparents bought us.  I wonder how much my parents hated them for that gift?)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been inside an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain (I think? I can't think of a specific instance, though.)
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching (in Alaska!)
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalum
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible (I've tried the Bible-in-a-year things several times, but never completed it)
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Nail polish

How would you dispose of nail polish? In middle school, I liked to buy the really cheap polish at Wal-Mart (the stuff that chips after one day). I’ve been trying to make more room in the bathroom cabinet and decided the cheap nail polish needed to go. It didn’t seem right to just toss the bottles in the trash, so I looked online for ways to dispose of nail polish. Several sites said to pour the polish onto newspapers, let it dry, then throw the newspaper away. So I gathered up newspaper, went outside, and started pouring. It was kind of a disaster. It was really windy and the newspaper kept flying around. My hands got covered in nail polish and I got some on my shirt, the trash bin, the sidewalk... Luckily the stuff on my shirt was plain glitter polish, so at least there’s not a color.

As I was pouring and getting nail polish everywhere I actually thought about the process and it didn’t make much sense to me. The polish bottles were sealed tight. The website said nail polish usually dries out after two years, but these bottles were 10-15 years old and still fine. Wouldn’t the formaldehyde and other chemicals be less likely to get in the ground if they stayed sealed in the bottle, as opposed to poured out? Or would trash compacting break the bottles?

Obviously, freecycle would have been the best option, but of course I didn’t think of that until after I’d poured out half of the bottles (I do plan to list the other half and see if anyone takes them). I’m having fun going through all our old stuff but the actual process of getting rid of things can be exhausting. I feel like everything could be hazardous and its annoying trying to dispose of it all properly.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

iPod sampling

The other day I was listening to my iPod at work and it seemed every song brought back memories – widely varying memories, too. I have everything from Ludacris to the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack on my iPod. Here’s a sample:

Michael Buble, Sway: My husband and I competed in ballroom dance in college (before Dancing With the Stars made it cool). I think this was one of the songs on the practice CD.

Maroon 5, This Love: This makes me think of my freshman roommate. She loved this song and I hadn’t heard it until she started playing it all the time.

Shout: Weddings. Including my own!

Garth Brooks, We Shall Be Free: We have to go to Vegas sometime, if only to see Garth Brooks' show.

Santana & Rob Thomas, Smooth: Our high school show choir did this song senior year. I wasn’t in the show choir, but I was in the jazz singing group. We went to all the same competitions, so after performing, I’d watch all the show choirs perform.

Cotton-eyed Joe: Middle school dances. Was this played at your dances, too, or did we have extremely uncool DJs? I promise it wasn’t a country dance or anything like that. The music was basically all pop (current at the time) and I have no idea why they played Cotton Eyed Joe so much that I remember it.

Also, a much more random memory of that song: hours after arriving in Ireland for a family vacation, my family and I went to a food court to grab dinner. It was late, most of the restaurants were closed (I think everything but McDonalds?) and the only people there were my family and a group of European teenagers who selected Cotton Eyed Joe on the jukebox over and over and over.

Also, do not ask my why this song is on my iPod. I have NO CLUE where it came from. Maybe my husband has a secret side business DJ-ing middle school dances.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Thomas and I have never had a budget. Once, when we were trying to decide how much to spend on a house, we listed all our expenses (very roughly) to determine how much would be left over for a house payment slash free spending, but we never used it to actually control how much we spent on anything other than the house. There are two reasons we’ve never felt the need for a budget: we’re both cheapskates and, probably because of that, we earn more than we spend. Over time, our savings account has grown of its own accord, for no reason other than we just don’t spend it.
Still, I’m SURE we could be saving more if we actually came up with a budget. I know we spend more than we need to on groceries – especially if I do the grocery shopping, which I’m not allowed to do very often, because I buy the entire store. We need to cancel our cable (haven’t gotten around to it) and I honestly don’t want to know what we spend on gas (although there’s really no way to reduce that, because we don’t do much, if any, extraneous driving).

Do you have a budget?  Is it strict?

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I mentioned I’m big into planning ahead, or at least buying ahead, yesterday, but sometimes I go overboard. I’m a sucker for a good sale. When Meg was starting to eat jarred foods, Babies R Us had an amazing Black Friday deal on Earth’s Best and I bought enough to last her for four months. We did use it all, but I felt a little crazy buying over 200 jars.

Just last week I bought six tubs of formula for the price of four from Target’s daily deals. It was such a good price! Cheaper than I bought formula two years ago! But…Paul doesn’t drink formula yet. With Meg, I didn’t have to supplement until she was 9 months. We went through four cans total. This time I’m pretty certain I’ll have to supplement at some point – the pump just isn’t good enough to keep my supply up for a year – but I really don’t know when or how much. Right now I’m still pumping 1 extra bottle every day. I have four boxes of breastmilk in the deep freeze. And now six tubs of formula in the basement.

Honestly, what I think I’m doing is trying to keep the crazy at bay. When my supply started to go downhill last time, I fought it tooth and nail. Every day I spent my entire lunch break – 45 minutes – pumping, in addition to the two other times I pumped. My mood each day was dictated by how much milk I got. I’m not doing that again. If I start to go crazy and talk about nothing but ounces and how fast the freezer supply is being used, my husband has permission to hit me over the head with a tub of formula.

ANYWAY. I wasn’t really planning to go there. Are YOU sucker for a good sale? How much do you allow yourself to buy? Do you usually end up using it all?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Quick question day: buying ahead

Are you superstitious (don’t buy clothes or furniture until the baby arrives) or a plan ahead kind of mom?

I’m a major plan ahead, be prepared kind of person. We bought a crib and a bunch of other stuff when I was 3 months pregnant with Meg (we knew someone getting rid of all their baby stuff, so it was then or never on this particular stuff). My second cousin dropped off hand-me-down baby clothes all the way up to 12 mo when I was 6 months pregnant. Meg’s room was completely ready, clothes washed and all, well in advance of her arrival.

One of my friends comes from a superstitious family/culture. When she gave birth to her first child, she had 2 onesies. That’s it. She said she wouldn’t be quite as strict about buying nothing ahead (though she wouldn’t buy much), but her mom is very adamant about it. They didn’t buy a bassinet until the child was born. They didn’t buy a crib until he had almost outgrown the bassinet. They do occasionally buy clothes 1 size ahead, but hide them from her mom.

Where on the spectrum do you fall?

(By the way, these “Quick Question Day” posts aren’t an official “thing” I’m getting from somewhere. I just figured I could use at least one day a week during NaBloPoMo where the post was easy and really quick, so anytime I thought of or ran across questions like this I saved them for Saturdays.)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Family vacation

I never got around to writing about the cruise we took in February, but I want to make sure I don’t forget it. It was honestly the best vacation I’ve ever been on. (I think its lame when people say things like that and, you have to believe me, I’ve never called any other vacation “the best ever.”) It wasn’t the best because of the specifics of the vacation itself, necessarily, but because it was a whole week of laid back, uninterrupted family time. (I KNOW this is sappy gag-worthy stuff, but it’s TRUE.) No internet. No DVR. No network TV. No babysitters. Virtually no toys. All of us in one room at naptime and bedtime. I thought this would be a recipe for disaster. I fully expected by the end of NINE DAYS where the three of us were never apart for more than an hour, we’d all be so sick of each other we’d be begging them to let us off the boat. Let me go back to work! Anything to get away from my family!

I suppose the low expectations and the hellish week we had before leaving were part of the reason this trip exceeded our wildest imaginations. (The week before we left was the snowpocalypse AND we all got sicker than we’ve been in a long time.)

I didn’t think a cruise was the best choice for a toddler-friendly vacation, but it was wonderful. I’m actually happy Meg was too young for the kid’s camp because we honestly enjoyed being together all the time. There are two things you’re supposed to do on a cruise: eat and relax. I’m pretty good at those things. As I’ve mentioned before, Margaret often eats more than I do and the “relax” part meant that while there were things we could do, there was nothing we HAD to do. The activities available were laid back and it was rarely a problem if Margaret wanted to run around. She loved the pool and so did I (great for a pregnant belly!). Our room had a crib that folded up so we could put it away during the day. There were highchairs available anytime we wanted. We didn’t have to worry about a carseat (we took the shuttle bus from the airport to the boat and back and obviously there’s no need for a carseat for the duration of the cruise). There was even a kid’s channel on the TV. The movies weren’t always interesting to a toddler (they were for kids all the way up to tweens), but we watched The Princess and the Frog and Toy Story 3 several times. I highly recommend it. We’re planning another cruise for the whole family in February 2013.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ridiculous worries

I try to comment on most blog posts I read. There are some I never comment on – style blogs, Cake Wrecks, sometimes blogs that usually get hundreds of comments so what’s one more?, but I do for most personal blogs. However, sometimes I’m away from the internet for a couple days. Or I don’t really have an opinion about the topic. Or it’s an emotional post and I don’t know what to say to be encouraging.

When I normally comment on every single post someone writes then miss one, for whatever reason, I feel super awkward. I worry they’ll wonder why I skipped that post. I don’t want them to assume I disagree with what they said or didn’t like it. In fact, I usually go out of my way to not comment on the next post and sometimes the one after that, too. If I miss two or three in a row, I figure they’ll assume I was busy or out-of-town or something.

Usually, I laugh at myself for being so ridiculous – they probably didn’t even notice I didn’t comment, let alone wonder why. But in case you DO notice, let me say: the vast, vast majority of the time I either got busy and decided to catch up on my reader fast-style OR I was passing time waiting somewhere by reading blog posts on my phone, which makes it difficult to comment.

Annnnd, now I’m paranoid some of the people I’ve added in the last few months will read this and think I don’t like them as much because I only comment occasionally instead of on every post. I have over 150 blogs in my reader now, so I’m just trying to read them all and spread a few comments around. It’s not personal!

Do you comment on every post you read? If someone regularly comments on your blog, do you notice when they miss a post? Do you assume they were just busy or wonder what was wrong with that post? Please tell me it’s the first one.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It IS a tough concept for a two-year-old

I think Meg thinks stretch marks = baby currently in belly. Which I suppose is pretty much what I taught her. When I was pregnant, she’d point to them and say “you have owie?” I’d say something like “no, they’re not owies, it’s just because Baby Paul is in there.” So the other day, after I got out of the shower, she ran up to me and said “Mommy! Baby Paul in your belly!” I said “No, he’s right there” and pointed. “Remember, he came out of mommy’s belly?” She stared at me, then said “um, OK” in a voice that implied suuuuure, mommy. Whatever.

I can’t tell if she doesn’t get it or just has trouble with tenses – like if she meant “Baby Paul WAS in your belly” and doesn’t understand what “he’s right there” has to do with anything. Right after he was born, she was pretty clear on the ‘this is the baby that used to be in mommy’s belly, then came out’ story. I think she just forgot and since she rarely sees stretch marks, her brain defaulted back to what she was told for months: those marks are there because Baby Paul is in the belly. Right now.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Wedding Cake

On my wedding day, the bakery dropped my cake.

No, not the actual, layered wedding cake. To save money, instead of having a tiered wedding cake that would serve 200, we had a three-tier cake that served 80-ish? I think? and three sheet cakes that served 40 people each. The wedding cake was two layers of white cake and red velvet for the top layer. The sheet cakes were white, chocolate, and chocolate raspberry. My husband and I both dislike any sort of “filled” pastries. No jelly doughnuts, no cream-filled doughnuts, no raspberry jam in a cake. The chocolate raspberry cake was to be chocolate/raspberry flavored. That one, and the red velvet, were the cakes I was most looking forward to trying.

The morning of the wedding, as I was getting my hair done, the bakery manager called.

Manager: We have a small problem. Not a problem, really. I just need to run something by you.

Me: oh-kaaaaaaay

Manager: Your cake. Not the wedding cake!!! One of the sheet cakes. The chocolate-raspberry one. We dropped it. I’m so sorry. But we can fix it! We have an extra chocolate cake. We can slice the cake and add a layer of raspberry jam. This way, the cake is chocolate-raspberry. It’s actually a more expensive cake. Obviously, there will be no extra charge.

I agreed - what else could I do? And, the morning of the wedding, cake flavors actually didn’t seem all that important. I just said OK and kept getting ready.

Of course, for the rest of the day, I milked it for all it was worth. Every time I told someone the story I started with “The bakery dropped our cake!” (It’s not my fault if people automatically assume it was the wedding cake!)

The most talked about item at the whole reception was that cake. Everyone LOVED the cake. They went back for seconds, asked what flavor it was, asked where we got it. Maybe the cake place put in some really fancy expensive jam or something, I don’t know. Neither Thomas or I liked it. But that was OK, I guess. We had our red velvet cake and all the compliments from people who loved the other cake. I STILL want to know what that chocolate-raspberry (no filling) cake would have tasted like, though. I’ll have to order one someday.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Kids' gifts

As I said, we're planning on getting Meg a toy storage thing as her big gift for Christmas. I realize this isn't the most fun gift ever and probably is more of a gift for us than her. But she's two and she doesn't really need a big gift, anyway. I think she'll love it, though.  She's proud of things that are "hers" and I bet she'll drag anyone who comes over back to her room to show off HER toy bin.  We are getting her a few other things, too, though.

She already has and loves If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, so I got her these (at Half Price Books for $4.99 each, yay!)

We're also getting her the new Winnie the Pooh movie.  She has a stuffed Pooh bear she loves and takes to daycare every week. She loved going to see the movie in the theater and asks to watch the trailer over and over at home.

For Paul, all I have is this Melissa & Doug wooden first vehicles set so far, but I probably won't buy much else.  Maybe some more bottles. A six-month-old doesn't need much:)

Do you know what you're getting your kids for Christmas?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

While we're on the subject of names

I didn't like giving up my last name. But I was a Pharmacy Technician for 8 years (random, but I’m going somewhere with this). In a pharmacy, prescriptions are filed by last name. Often, everyone in the family would be on medication (routine stuff, like allergy meds or something) and if the mom had a different last name (which included hyphenated names, since the maiden name comes first), her prescriptions were filed separately. I don’t know why, but this always struck me as a very sad visual. The dad’s and kids’ medications were all together in a nice happy group and the mom’s was off on her own, all alone. It just seemed like she deliberately singled herself out (which is absurd, because it doesn’t have to mean that). I didn’t want there to be anything that made me separate from my family. I wanted us all together (The X Family, not the W/X Family).

But really, this is just a very weird personal issue of mine. Did you hyphenate your name? Did you consider it?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Quick question day

Do you have things that seem like something you should never get wrong, but often do? Mine all center around my married name.

My middle initial: when I got married, I made my maiden name my middle name. I’ve been married 4 ½ years, but I still really have to think about it if asked what my middle initial is.

Pronunciation of last name: our last name is not pronounced anything like it’s spelled. I obviously know how to say it, but sometimes if I’m reading it off a piece of paper I’ll accidentally say it like it’s spelled. I feel really dumb correcting my own pronunciation of my name.

Name on credit card: Right after we got married, I tried to change the name on my credit card. It didn’t work. I tried again, then gave up. My credit card is still in my maiden name. I keep meaning to try to change it again, but haven’t gotten around to it…for four years. At the Blathering, I told the bartender my tab was under [married name] and he couldn’t find it. Oops.

Friday, November 11, 2011

So many words to learn

The other day when Meg was at my mom’s, she pointed to a bathroom scale.

“What is that?”

“A scale.”


“You step on it and weigh.”

“Oh, OK”

So she got on the scale and started waving (or weigh-ving). Apparently she doesn’t know what weigh means. It entertained her for 10 minutes. She’d step on, wave, step off. Step on, wave, step off…

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Seasonal food items

We were talking today at work about seasonal food items. Fast food mainly, they were advertising the McRib on the radio. I haven’t had one in years, but if I remember correctly, I thought the McRib tasted exactly like the barbeque rib sandwiches served in school lunches. It seems weird to me people are so excited for what I think of as a hot lunch sandwich. Thomas says there’s actually a website tracking where McRibs are currently available. Apparently, even though they’re only sold nationwide for a few weeks a year, they’re sold in various locations on a rotating basis and the website will tell you where you can get one.

Are there seasonal food items you get excited for? Like, maybe a Pumpkin Spice Latte? Pumpkin pie? Egg Nog? Peppermint mocha creamer?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Giveaway boxes - contents revealed

I wrote this post while preparing the boxes to send to the winners of my back to work giveaway in September.  I was planning to post it after giving the boxes enough time to get to their destinations, but forgot! I have more of most of this stuff, so if you enter a future giveaway you might get some of it.

The coffee that started it all.  Unfortunately this is something I don't have more of.

Cute tiny gift bags.  The original plan was to put some of the stuff IN the bags, but then they wouldn't fit in the box, so that was scrapped.

Index cards. I love index cards and want to use them for everything, but always feel like I should use some of my freebie notepads instead. I was a pharmacy technician for 7 years. I have LOADS of drug-rep notepads.


Sample/travel packets of body wash

Self-adhesive ribbon

I have a cabinet FULL of various kinds of tea.  I hope y'all like tea, because I am a major over-purchaser and will likely include tea in any giveaway I plan.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

If only names

Princess Nebraska wrote last week about her kids “if only” names. Both Thomas and I have one for Paul. I wanted to name him Luke. Thomas wouldn’t agree, because he has a cousin named Luke. He lived with his aunt and uncle the summer after Luke was born and felt like he was too close to that part of his family to use the same name. Plus, even though Luke is my husband’s cousin, he’s closer to Paul’s age (he’s five). My argument was that it’s not going to be a big deal to have the same name as your second cousin. How often do you see your second cousin?? But, regardless, the name was off the table. I don’t regret it – Paul’s name fits him perfectly – but I’m still kind of bummed I’ll never have a baby Luke.

I think our second girl name might end up being an “if only” name, too. When I was pregnant with Meg, we had two names we loved. We decided she was a Meg, but that if we had a second girl she’d definitely get the other name. I still love that name, but I’m not sure I’d use it anymore. It’s been rising in popularity a lot and I’d like to use a name somewhere around the same popularity as the other two kids’ names. It’s not that I’m against super-popular names, I just think that since we’ve used two names around #200 on the Social Security list we should try and match that level of popularity with the third.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Today I noticed about an hour into the workday I’d forgotten to put on any makeup at all and my hair was all over the place. I wasn’t one of those people who thought 'that’ll never happen to me, I won’t be one of those moms who doesn’t care how she looks.' I’m a fundamentally lazy person, so I knew my appearance would slide. Clothes and hair were bound to go downhill. My one thing, though, was makeup. My skin hates me. I always have several breakouts and my skin just doesn’t look all that good in general. I knew I’d never be comfortable leaving the house for the day without makeup. To run a quick errand, maybe. To go to work, church, or really anywhere I’ll see people I know, no. Especially since my skin improved during my pregnancy with Paul (after getting WAY WORSE when I was pregnant with Meg), so I don’t have to do too much to it to look presentable. It used to take me 15 minutes to do my makeup, now it’s more like 2. Suscreen, powder, blush, mascara, good to go.

I’ve come to realize an unfortunate fact, though. It’s not always that those frumpy moms don’t care. Sometimes they just forget to brush their hair or put on makeup or change their spit-up-on shirt before going to work. I didn’t make the choice to let my hair and makeup slide today, I forgot and am rather embarrassed to be sitting here looking like this. This is how it starts. And yes, the sweater I'm wearing today happens to be the same one I wore yesterday, but I only wore it to church and it's still (pretty much) clean. Looks like I was right about the clothes-will-do-downhill thing.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Toy Storage

How do you store toys?  This is our current system and it's driving me crazy. 

The bin was originally used for toy food only (it was way too big, but what we had).  The other toys then migrated in and for at least the last six months it has looked like this. It's easy for Meg to pick up all her toys, so at least they aren't spread around, but it's ugly and she has a hard time finding things that have sunk to the bottom (which is mostly the toy food). Sometimes she'll dump the entire thing out. We're thinking about getting a toy organization shelf/bin thing as her Christmas present and putting it in her closet. She could bring a bin out to the living room if she wanted, then would theoretically be required to put it away before getting another (ha!). Even if that didn't work, there would at least be a place to put things away at the end of the day that isn't the corner of the living room.

This is what our church nursery has and I LOVE it, but I'm not spending $250. (They put clear plastic bins in some of the cubbies.)
We're thinking something more like this, but not this exact one - the reviews say it's really small and doesn't hold much. (The link goes to Amazon, but it's cheaper at Target right now.)

So do you have something similar to these that you like?  Don't like?  Any recommendations on where to buy? Unfortunately, we are not near any IKEAs and their shipping is high enough I'm not interested in ordering from them (the shipping isn't unreasonable - it's just expensive to ship large, heavy furniture).

And just so you know, as much as Meg loves Dora, we are NEVER getting this:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Quick question

Is your definition of a “cute child” really just a picture of your child (or, if you don’t have children, what you looked like as a child)? Or do you think there are generally accepted standards for measuring the cuteness of a child?

I saw a picture of someone’s kid on their blog yesterday. It’s not a blog I’ve read before and I was clicking through from somewhere else. (It’s not your blog. I promise.) My first thought was “Wow, that child isn’t very attractive, is she?” Then I wondered how many people think that about MY kids. Not all children are as cute as baby Penny, you know?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Google searches that led here

Someone searching for “I keep getting pregnant” found my post I just keep getting pregnant-er, about how huge I was getting while pregnant with Paul. I don’t think that was exactly what they were looking for.

Also in the I-don’t-think-this-is-what-you’re-looking-for category: a search for “disadvantage of blogs” led to this, which is really about how I like reading blogs so much the only problem is I spend too much time reading them/money buying books by bloggers.

A search for “how does a sweater shaver work” led to someone downloading the first picture from this post. I tend to get a little freaked out when people download my pictures (luckily this is only the second time!), but if you want this one, have at it! That post is pretty low on my list of ‘worried it will be stolen.’

Someone who clearly has excellent grammar searched for “im probably be the last to know” and I was the #1 result with this post. I wonder if they were also frustrated with the whole Facebook-fake-pregnancies thing.

At one point in time this post was the #1 google result for ‘pumpkin pudding cookies’ and ‘pistacio pudding spritz cookies.’ MAKE THEM NOW. Yum.

…and I was the #4 result for “crying over pregnancy cravings.” I’m so proud.

You might want to stop reading now, because we’ve come to the obligatory “so creepy I’m shutting down my blog right now” search. Someone in Argentina ran a google image search for “little girl in the bath” and came to this post. There was a picture of Meg covered in pen markings (so covered I needed to throw her in the bath to wash them off). It didn’t show any private areas, or even her face (it was pretty much just her legs), and whomever ran the search didn’t download it, but I’m still majorly creeped out. Talk about “disadvantage of blogs.” I deleted the photo. I know it’s still out there, but at least it’s less accessible.

To end on not such a creepy note, I will add someone did find this post by searching for ‘meth.’ Of course.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Back at work

Most days going to work causes a "sigh, if my cushy life seems this hard, how do people with lives that are actually hard do it?" Some days it causes 'seriously, I have to go to this f***ing job AGAIN?'-type anger. Today is one of the sad days, where I mostly just try not to cry in front of my co-workers. I miss my babies. I miss my BED. I cry when I'm tired. Ergo, I'm spending most of today hoping I can hold it together.

The good news is as much as can go well at work is

My schedule for the next five months (which is as far as has been scheduled now) is great. All but one week I’m working on my favorite jobs. I’m assigned to every one I requested. I don’t travel except for that one week.

Also, I thought we got an extra week of vacation per year after five years. Turns out its four, so a few weeks before I went on maternity leave, my vacation accrual went up. I didn’t even notice until now!

Then, they gave me a new laptop. I’ve had it for a week now and I LOVE it. We’re encouraged to take our computers home if we want to. They gave me a few days before removing administrator privileges from my profile so I could install my home printer and scanner. Yay!

The “should I quit” discussion has been put on the back burner, so I’m happy being back at work has at least been better than I expected.  I try to remind myself of this every day.  Especially when I'm trying not to cry.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Happy belated Halloween!

What’s your opinion of Halloween costumes for babies? Meg was 5 months old her first Halloween and I didn’t get her a costume. She had a black cat sleeper with a tail and she wore that on Halloween. I figured why spend the money for something she’ll wear for a few hours (or less)?

I wasn’t planning on getting Paul a costume this year, but found an adorable monkey outfit in a consignment shop for $8.50. He did not appreciate being put in a costume and wore it for all of 15 minutes. We only got one picture of him smiling, but it’s adorable. I think it was worth $8.50 to have a cute picture of his first Halloween. I wouldn’t pay much more than that, though. Do you have a price limit?

Meg, on the other hand, was excited to dress up. She had two hand-me-down costumes – a pig and a fairy (it looked like Tinkerbell). She immediately proclaimed the fairy costume pretty and wouldn’t even try on the pig. But the pig costume had little hooves to go over shoes and she loved those. She called them her pig shoes and wore them constantly. As Halloween got closer, every time we asked her what she was going to be, she said “a PIG!” I still figured we’d have to throw the fairy costume on her at the last minute, though.

When the time came to get in costume, I couldn’t find the hooves. I thought the pig costume was definitely not happening at that point, but she put on the rest of it just fine and LOVED trick-or-treating. We just went to the houses of neighbors we know and she was thrilled to get candy. She also loved handing out candy at our house. We let her have the DumDum sucker and fun size bag of M&Ms in the picture and she spent the rest of the night bouncing off the walls.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Let's try this again

Last year, I attempted to do NaBloPoMo, but the morning sickness got the better of me and I spent the last half of the month praying for death. After about a week’s worth of posts about how sick I felt, which was the only thing I could think about, I decided to spare both myself and everyone else and threw in the towel.

Hopefully this year will go better. I haven’t seen too many people talking about NaBloPoMo yet this year. Are you doing it?

Today I'm taking advantage of one of the biggest perks of being a working mom - a paid sick day sans children.  I feel like death warmed over, but at least I'm not taking care of kids!!  It's not as good as a pre-kid sick day, where you call in sick then roll over and go back to sleep - I had to get the kids up, dressed, fed, and dropped off at daycare/Grandma's house (they go different places on Tuesdays). But now I'm home and I get to take a NAP.