Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Burning the Kitchen Down

Let me preface this by saying that I've never liked gas stoves. I know professional cooks prefer gas stovetops, but perhaps professional cooks have never experienced the joy of cleaning a flat stove top over gas burners. Or more importantly, considered THE DANGER OF HAVING OPEN FLAMES IN YOUR KITCHEN. !!!
I always thought that people who burned down their kitchens were idiots, but now I'm having to reconsider...perhaps they all just had gas stoves.
So here's what happened. You know when you turn the gas to a stove burner on, and the lighter doesn't catch for a sec? So it goes *click*click*WHOOSH and flames shoot out when it finally catches because of the extra gas that has come out? Yesterday that happened as I was starting some water boiling. No big deal. I grabbed some salt for the water and looked back at the stove.
Apparently, the *WHOOSH had ignited one of those highly flammable plastic bread bags that was sitting on the countertop by the right side of the stove. Aaah! I started pouring salt on the flames jumping around and trying to flick burning debris off my beautiful wood (!) countertops onto the stove. Then the flames ignited my crumpled bacon grease-coated paper towels I had just wiped the stove off with... (I'm sure I was just about to throw them away.) Thoughts: Not the wood countertops! How flammable is the varnish they're coated in?
The flames were dying when I glanced over and saw the large roll of paper towels that was sitting on the back burner of the stove halfway covered in flames. Agh! Maybe people who burn down their kitchens are idiots. Why did I put a gigantic roll of fire-starter on my stove? The girls gathered to watch and Cici gave dramatic high-pitched shrieks as I grabbed the towel roll and ran over to the sink, blasting the flames with water. Still holding the salt, I ran back and sprinkled the smoldering bits of paper towel and bread bag on the stove.
Then I just stood there for a while and gazed at the post-apocalyptic scene on my gas stovetop...mounds of burnt salt and charred remains floating ashy bits into the air. Cici came over to comfort me.
Cici: "Do you need a band-aid? You look like you need a band-aid."  
Thank you, Cici.
*I told Austin I lit our kitchen on fire. He was nice enough to ask if I was okay, but I know what he was really thinking was: Are the wood countertops okay? The answer is yes, only the salt I poured on the flames got burnt and not the countertops. My white cabinets weren't damaged either. It's a Christmas miracle.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Kitchen Reveal No. 1!

Okay, here's a quick review of what the kitchen looked like when we bought it...
note tile and lighting...

as well as funky cupboards and absence of upper cupboards...
hot dog sink still baffles me...

and finally the butler's pantry.
Much later...
*By the way, I would have to say that Austin really impressed me in the interim with what he figured out how to do in the kitchen. Recessed lighting, electrical, installing countertops, plumbing, undermount sink, etc. Underneath his suave exterior lies a rugged handyman.

Hey, a real kitchen!
With lovely custom walnut countertops that everyone said was a bad idea... 
a classed up butler's pantry,
with the old chimney brick exposed for character. And for memories of the toasty bird skeleton.
This is Kitchen Reveal number one because there is still more to do. Backsplash behind the stove and kitchen sink, open shelving on the wall by sink, and definitely baseboards. Just finishing touches. Still, I think of the people without homes in the Philippines and can't be anything but grateful. Especially for a sink and a stove. Until you go without those two things for a month you don't realize just how nice it is to have them.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Fully Operational

I'm pretty sure that tomorrow my kitchen will be fully armed and operational! We got the countertops and sink put in on Saturday and will put the stove and dishwasher in tomorrow.! So, what have I been doing without a kitchen sink, stove, or dishwasher for the past month or so?

When we decided to just bite the bullet and move into our work-in-progress house, I had visions of me using my crockpot, toaster oven, and electric griddle to whip up home-cooked suppers, doing dishes in the bathroom, and spraying pots and pans clean in the hose outside. Glamping, remember?

Well, I still haven't found the box my toaster oven is in, and my griddle, which I did find, is missing its cord, which is probably in that same undiscovered box. These are just excuses, though. The truth is that I've had no time, energy, or desire to make homemade meals and wash my dishes in my bathtub.

People ask what I do without a kitchen, how I manage. My answer depends on who asks. Okay, to everyone but my mother I tell the truth: we eat out a lot. Like every night. Normally I feel guilty about eating out if we're not on a date or something. I wasn't raised that way. I think I ate out with my family twice before I left home for college, not counting McDonalds on road trips. I know that home cooked meals are cheaper and much more nutritious...and yet, we still eat out and use disposable dishes for the rest of our meals. That is how we are managing. I do feel guilty because it's not healthy or cheap, but also not guilty because hey, I don't have a kitchen. So, a breakdown of our daily menu:

Breakfast: Mini-Wheats or Oatmeal in microwave plus gummi vitamins
Lunch: Ham sandwich or Peanut Butter and Jam sandwich, chips, and carrots

(Do I ever get tired of eating the same thing for breakfast and lunch? Not really. I like consistency. In college I ate Malt-o-meal every morning for an entire semester.)

Supper: (Criteria are, can't be too pricey, too hard to take kids to, or too far away.)

Little Ceaser's Pizza (Austin used to hate their pizza. Mysteriously it has grown on him and he now likes it. Plus it's really close to our house.)

Wendy's (Really like their new pretzel hamburger thing, which is a little pricey but so good.)

Cafe Rio (Anything pork. Starting to get expensive though now that the free kids quesadillas aren't filling up our kids.)

Panda Express (Orange Chicken and Sweet Fire Chicken)

Arby's (Roast beef sandwiches for the girls and I, and then Austin has a strange infatuation with their chicken strips.)

Annnnd that's pretty much our rotation. To tell the truth, not having to cook supper or do any dishes for a month has freed up a lot of my time to work on the house and do things with the girls. It's been kind of fun. But it's gotten to the point where we're really sick of eating out. Really sick of it. Too much of a mediocre thing, I guess.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Wonder Woman

Some days I feel like Wonder Woman.
Some months, actually.

This past month especially, because in October I fought the good fight each and every day.

I've introduced my kids to the joy of raking up leaves and jumping in leaf piles. I've thrown together a birthday celebration, complete with homemade cake. I've sewn and put together Halloween costumes. I've drywalled, I've painted, I've laid flooring, I've taken kids to swim lessons, I've spent time with family, I've kept my house clean, written in my journal, volunteered at school, been social with other moms and church members. I've shopped for Christmas, walked my kids to school almost every day, gotten up with multiple kids multiple times on multiple nights, gone visiting teaching, sent letters to missionaries, etc., etc., etc. This month, my kids have called me the best mom in the whole world, and the worst mom in the whole world. (That's how I know I'm doing my job right.)
About the only thing I feel bad about is that I haven't gotten a good nap. As soon as the renovations are done (next week?!), I'm for sure getting that done. 


   I still have a plywood floor. My kids still don't sleep at night. I still only have time to wash my hair once every four days. But I am...Wonder Woman!                                

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Little House on the Prairie

New playhouse in backyard. Note Welcome Bear by front door.

Here we are, having breakfast in our lovely new kitchen. Note the classy wood floors and custom "stacked wood" countertops. I find the hand textured wall treatment particularly fetching, as well as our trendy cafĂ© seating.

Here's the other side.
Yes, we are a long way from done, and we are still living in a construction zone.
Still, I think it looks much better. I just might be turning into an optimist.
Lately Sammy and I have been reading Little House on the Prairie. I love it. I don't remember reading it when I was little, but it's an interesting look at real pioneers, and it's really helped me with our move last Saturday into our ongoing renovation. I would compare our life right now to luxury camping, (glamping) but we're indoors and it's not luxurious. It does feel like camping though. You'd have to come visit to get the full picture. However, whenever I get discouraged about not having a kitchen sink or countertops or a nice bathroom, and I look at all the work left and start to feel down, I just think about how Laura's family just picked a spot in the middle of nowhere and started putting log walls up. No windows, no door, dirt floors, etc.
They would have loved to be in the house that I'm in now. They would have loved having a microwave and fridge, indoor plumbing, sturdy walls with a door and floor, and a fluffy Persian cat wandering their backyard instead of a circle of wolves. You know, pioneers are awesome, even if just for serving the purpose of making me feel good about my cushy life.
I really want to enjoy this time close to family and fun activities now, and not wait until my house is perfect to have a great life. It's definitely a balancing act between working on the house and taking care of the three girls, too. I made the goal this year to be more flexible, i.e. not always have to do things my way, and I think a new baby, move, and renovation are really helping me accomplish this goal. Humans are hardwired for struggle, and when we are stretching our capabilities we are really alert and living life despite dealing with difficult things.  
Charlotte is flexible. Her favorite activity--playing with her toes.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Destroying a Very Large Purchase

It's very stressful to renovate a house. We spent a lot of money to buy a cute little house then promptly started to destroy it. WHAT HAVE WE DONE?? 

Our living room (before)

Our kitchen (before). Hey, it actually looks pretty good in this photo. It could be the dim lighting...or the devilishly attractive female with the screwdriver.
But in the cold light of the's another story.
The other side of the kitchen. Note that one of the sinks is the size of a large hot dog. Who does that? 
Relaxing in our new kitchen
Laundry room off the kitchen
Demolition reveals a boarded up chimney that contained coal remnants and a toasty bird skeleton that Matthew relished showing Kellie and I.
So our first priorities are the kitchen and the floors. Those two things seemed good to get out of the way before we actually moved into the house. The floor refinisher starts tomorrow on the hardwood throughout the house, so that's one thing out of the way. Then we need to level the kitchen and dining room floor and pick an engineered hardwood to put down. We spent days getting up the Spanish tile, which was grouted to the cement board which was glued and screwed to the plywood underneath, so we might hire someone at this point to do the leveling.
The kitchen is interesting too. I think the chimney connected to the original kitchen stove, and the original kitchen was what is now the laundry room. I'm putting cupboards in the laundry room that match the new kitchen and taking out the sink behind the door and making it a pantry closet, basically turning the laundry room into a butler's pantry. Actually I just like saying "butler's pantry." I'm not sure if my laundry room qualifies as one. I'm a little nervous about the kitchen.
The basic idea

Except I don't like farmhouse sinks, or faucets that are hard to clean. Or those door pulls. Austin wants to go with white subway tile, but I worry that it's too much white. Plus everyone these days is doing a white kitchen with white subway tile. Too trendy?

We have a lot of decisions to make...any input is appreciated.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Return of the Blogger

Here it is! I call it our new old house. In my mind I wanted a cute little brick bungalow, but this cute little brick colonial revival cottage definitely fit the bill. It was built in the early 1900s and built to last. We're close to Sam's school, three parks, church, BYU, and other fun places in a neighborhood that's full of life and diversity. However, our cottage needs a lot of work, and is slightly overwhelming in that everywhere you look there's something you could fix up. The huge backyard needs tree removal, chicken shed pulled down, a gate, landscaping, new fence sections, a new garage, a built in trampoline and a play cottage. The inside needs new floors, a new kitchen, new bathrooms, wall touch up, trim touch up, paint, new wiring, and a less creepy basement. And oh yes, did I mention it needs a new roof and a paint job?

It was definitely livable when we bought it, but livable like a cheap hotel where you don't actually want to live there, just stay there for one night. Not that it's decrepit. It just needs some TLC, which I am fully prepared to give. Because Austin loves me and knows I want the house, he too is prepared to throw in some TLC. We bought the house exactly a week ago and have dived into renovations so we can actually move in and let my parents have their house back as soon as possible. We're staying with them while we complete the two projects that we thought it would be hard to be in the house for: Floors and Kitchen. That's its own post, so more on that later. So far its been really stressful, a little bit fun, and good bonding time with family members.

More to come!

Monday, July 22, 2013

My Worst Nightmare

Goodbye, house!
A couple weeks ago, we decided to sell our house. My parents had some bad news about their health recently so we want to be closer to them, but also we have been wanting a change of pace and we both felt good about our decision. Anyway, we talked to some realtors who live up the street, decided the price they suggested sounded good, and told them we wanted to list it. That was on a Saturday.
Monday I started cleaning my entire house, spurred on by the thought of a professional photographer coming on Thursday to post photos of every corner of my house on the internet for hundreds of strangers to see. Actually photos aren't too bad. At least just the outside of things has to look clean. What really motivated me was the thought of total strangers coming into my house and poking around, starting Friday. It's like my worst nightmare to have someone walk into my bathroom and see how I really live when I haven't cleaned for a few days. Austin didn't really get why the fridge had to be cleaned out and my bathroom drawers cleaned and edited, but I watch HGTV, and I've been house hunting myself. People like to look in the fridge. They like to open bathroom drawers, they like to see what's in the closet. House hunting is an unprecedented opportunity/excuse to see behind the scenes in other people's lives.
When you sell a house, you should sell more than the actual home. You should sell the myth that if you live in this particular house, your fridge and bathroom drawers will be magically clean and organized, there will be no fingerprints on the walls and windows, and because everything is so clean, you will have plenty of time to sit on the artfully staged patio out back. 
In order for me to sell this myth along with our home, I basically ignored my children for four days as I painted the pink room back to the same color as the rest of the house, deep cleaned every corner, obsessively painted over chips in the walls, and packed up a lot of our less-used belongings. With my husband complaining that our house was like a museum where we weren't allowed to touch anything, we took off down to Provo and moved into my parents house while they jetted off on their adventures. It was perfect timing. We stayed there for a week and had a ton of showings back at the house. I didn't have to keep things clean or rush my kids out of the house. We came back Friday, took the best of the offers we received, and moved back in. So awesome.
My favorite moment of this experience came as we were sitting down at our kitchen table to sign our acceptance of an offer. As we were about to sign, we looked out our window and saw two people get out of their car and stand by our sign looking at the house. Our realtor saw them and jumped up and ran outside shouting back over his shoulder "Don't sign that offer yet!"
I think it was meant to be that we move now. Everything came together so nicely. We haven't really figured out what we're doing on the other end yet, but I'll keep you updated!

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Way of the Chicken

My parents are very law-abiding people. However, when it comes to chickens their moral fiber turns a bit soluble. The flock has grown to illegal proportions and shows no signs of decreasing.

On Saturday I was shown The Way of the Chicken by my dad as part of my house-sitting duties. We all know I don't get along with chickens, but I felt like I could give it another shot for my parents. They seem to really like these chickens as they keep adding more of the stinky buggers. Anyway, as Dad described it, chicken care seemed fairly straightforward. Water, feed, lock them in coop for the night, let them out in the morning. Repeat for a week as my parents bask on the deck of an Alaskan cruise ship.

On Sunday I woke up with a start to the incessant and uproarious bawking of the massive flock. They also woke my baby sleeping by the window, but I left her crying, threw some clothes on, and dashed out to the backyard. In the midst of putting three kids to bed, I had forgotten all about locking the chickens up the night before and making sure they were fed and watered. Thoughts of wild animals attacking the coop, starving chickens collapsing, and angry neighbors phoning to complain about the noise all ran through my mind. I made it up to the chicken pen, threw open the gate, and....nothing. The chickens magically stopped their fiendish racket and wandered around idyllically scratching in the dirt. I checked their coop. Nothing. I checked their food and water. Full. Annoyed, I threw some grain on the ground for them so I could feel like I had done something. They dutifully ignored it and went back to their chicken business. Apparently they simply desire a human presence at 6 in the morning.*

I wearily went back inside and surveyed my new black flip-flops coated in chicken leavings, thinking about how much cheaper and easier buying free-range chicken, organic, non-muck coated eggs from the store would be then running this chicken coop. Raising your own chickens should be placed in the same category as wearing Spandex, posting about bathroom trips on Facebook, and throwing fruit into green smoothies without peeling it. I call this category, "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."

*I later confirmed this with my little brother Joseph.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Two Methods of Packing


Last night, Charlotte slept from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. for the second time this week. If she keeps this up, soon I won't have to choose between sleep and blogging and you'll be hearing more from me. More importantly though, I'll be able to tell other mothers with a smug sense of superiority that my baby sleeps through the night at 3 months old. (I always thought these mothers were lying but it turns out that maybe these mythical babies do exist.)
The girls find wands to play with and bless Charlotte with gifts of beauty, song, etc. 

So in the interest of practicality, I thought I would talk a little bit about travel. We just got back from another fun summer trip to Nana and Poppy's house on the lake, and while there were ups and downs to the traveling process, I would definitely do it again. (Up: Seeing the beautiful mountains near Vail, Colorado for the first time. Down: Austin's incessant quest to kill a bug in the car that woke up my sleeping baby.)
As far as roadtrips go, now that I'm a mom and can't listen to music and sleep the whole time, my favorite part has definitely become packing. I love packing. I like the process of gathering everything together, for a brief time on the road having everything you really need within arm's reach, and the sense of victory when you realize you didn't forget a single thing--one of the true marks of a master packer.
I don't think I've become a master packer yet, but Austin's parents still like to talk about the time Austin and I did Europe with a backpack apiece. Like a school backpack, not a hiking backpack. It's nice to be portable when you travel.
I've decided there are two styles of packing, Kitchen Sink Packing and Survivalist Packing.  
Kitchen Sink Packing: This is where you hold up an item and think, Will I possibly need this on my trip? The answer to this question is usually "Yes." Of course you could possibly use some bandaids and a straightener and your winter coat and that big bottle of lotion and a beach towel, etc. etc. This type of packing results in a lot of luggage. (I call it Kitchen Sink Packing because my dad literally brought a sink with us on one memorable camping trip where the scout motto of "Be Prepared" was taken a little too far.)
Survivalist Packing: This is where you hold up an item and think, Is there any way I can go without this on my trip? The answer to this question is usually "Yes." Do you really need that mini first-aid kit, could you wear your hair in a ponytail instead of straighten it, maybe borrow a jacket from your host if you get cold, run to Walmart if there's not lotion at your hotel, etc. etc. This kind of packing results in a sleek, streamlined bag that is easy to tote around. Unless you have kids, in which case you really do need all that stuff...

Sand is awesome!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

I Have met the Enemy and it is Entropy

These days, sometimes the most exciting thing we do all day is to sit on the front porch and eat otter pops while wearing interesting outfits. I have lots of skills I want to learn, projects that have accumulated, and blog posts half-composed in my head, but for some reason, I just can't make these things happen.

I used to think the problem was my prioritization of naptime, but in a more philosophical vein, I've decided that the root of my problem is entropy. The universe just keeps falling into disorder and decay and it's taking most of my time to fight it. The baby keeps needing her diaper changed, my flowerbeds keep getting weed-filled, the dishes keep coming, and the laundry constantly needs rotated. Most of it basic maintenance stuff, but if it doesn't get done, my family will starve to death and wallow in their own filth. (Which when I was 17 is what I predicted would happen to my family when I left for college, based on the amount of cooking and cleaning I did, but somehow they survived.)

Well, now that I know what the obstacle to my achievements is, I can overcome it.... Except the problem is the nature of the universe we live in...I can't fight that, right? So until the universe dishes up a time in my life with less entropic pulls, I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the summer.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

This Took Forever

All I wanted was a picture slideshow...with music...on my blog. Who would have thought it would take so long to figure out?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How it all went down

She's here! It took us a bit to decide on the right name to fit our new baby, but we finally felt she was a Charlotte. She's very easy-going so far--Austin and I are hoping we've lucked into the mythical "easy baby." They tend to wake up after a few days though, so we'll just wait to make a final pronouncement on that.

I wrote all about the birth in my journal yesterday, and rambled on and on for was exhausting. I really want to blog in detail but my choices right now are nap or blog, so this will probably be shorter than I was planning.

I thought labor was great. No middle-of-the-night or hospital craziness. I woke up at 6 after a night of little contractions (just like for the past two weeks) and used the bathroom only to discover impending signs of labor and feel a real contraction. (The real ones go all the way around to your back.) I was worried this labor would be super fast, so I wasn't sure whether to wake everyone up and get my mother-in-law and sister-in-law and two kids out of the house ASAP or just wait it out a little longer. I decided after a couple contractions that they weren't that bad, so I puttered around and finally woke Austin up and told him that I was having a baby today. Austin (mumbling): Yeah right... Me: NO, really!

So the morning passed, Austin's mom made us a big breakfast before she left, my contractions got steadily stronger and Austin and I enjoyed a quiet morning at home, where I watched HGTV to my heart's content. I really liked getting up and doing a little belly dance/hip swivel during contractions, and just knowing that everything was progressing smoothly and regularly like a textbook labor. Okay, maybe a little faster.

We went out to lunch around 11 and I reeeally didn't like sitting down in the car or at Zupas. We kind of skedaddled out of there, especially as I was feeling the contractions more. I was still happy and talkative between them though, so I figured I still had a ways to go. I didn't want my midwives or Mom just sitting around bored to death for hours, so I was waiting to tell them to come up...but then we got home and I had to lean against something during my contraction-hip swivel-belly dance and Austin got nervous. He mentioned afterwards knowing the different looks on my face I get as I get further along with labor. He jumped into action topping off the birth tub, and around 12:30 I texted my midwives and stopped timing contractions on my phone.

The tub was so nice. We put too much hot water in--Me: I don't want to cook my baby! Austin (worried that the baby is going to pop out any minute): Just get in! You'll get used to it!--So Austin had to frantically scoop it out to get it cold enough while I'm humming and rubbing my belly and trying to find my swim top to wear. Also the pool had a slow leak in it, so we were dealing with mild deflation issues as well. I finally got in right before my midwife, Melissa showed up, and it was quite blissful. Who wouldn't want to get in a warm pool during labor? I leaned on the edge and rubbed circles on my belly during contractions then went back to chatting. My mom showed up too so we all were talking and having a nice time. Melissa listened to the baby's heartbeat and everything was looking good.

Now with my last two labors, I got really grouchy at the end and threw up right before transition, so I was watching for those signs. I was still pretty happy and chatty in between contractions, so I figured I might be hanging out in the tub for a while. But then things started to happen.... A little while after my other midwife, Heidi, showed up around 1:15, I decided I wanted to get out and use the bathroom. Well, I sat down and had one contraction, during which I realized that I didn't need to use the bathroom, I needed to have a baby. That must have been transition there, because I automatically started to vocalize and high-tailed it back to the tub. Austin sat on the edge of our bed and I sat on my heels in the tub, grabbed both his hands, closed my eyes to concentrate, gave some roars, and to the best of my recollection, three pushes later, at 1:37 p.m., our baby was born. !!!

Now backtracking a little bit. Thank goodness for Austin. I hung on for dear life to him. (Based on previous experience, he had me take off my ring early in labor to spare his hands.) I remember Melissa telling me to reach a hand down to feel the baby's head. Me: NO. Then she started telling Austin how to catch the baby... Me: DON'T LET GO OF ME! Then next thing I know, someone is handing me a squirmo armful, and I slowly opened my eyes to find a purple-y baby clutched in my arms. After all this time waiting for her, and it was still somewhat of a surprise. Then she gave her first cry and I swung into mothering mode as my midwives coaxed me to slowly ease back down into relaxation mode in the tub. I've read in my books about this hormone cocktail that kicks in after birth, which I thought sounded kind of made up, but really, I just felt this wave of euphoria and love and bliss as I lay there in my slowly deflating tub holding my brand new baby. I felt like a goddess.

So what about the pain of labor? Well the actual contractions were quite manageable. Pushing there at the end was quick, but painful. I can't explain, but as I clung to Austin, I was not thinking at the same time as all these thoughts were zipping through my head. Scream in low tones, Ina May say it's more productive, That's the head coming down, Just like hiking Mt. Timp, Not too fast, Can't stop now, etc. Zing, zing, zing. Looking back, it differed from my last unprepared natural labor in that I never felt terror or thought I can't do this or I want to die. This time it was more like a runner or hiker pulling through a hard spot when they have no other choice but to keep going.

Anyway, I soaked in the bliss, fed baby, delivered placenta, then finally got out before the pool totally went on me. I showered, got stitched up, tucked in my own bed, and then it was good just to be home. In the hospital, right after the woman gives birth everyone leaves her and clusters around the new baby as it is weighed and've just done one of the hardest and transformative things of your life, and suddenly everyone has abandoned you to see what's going on with the baby. So I just loved being in the middle of things as Baby was examined and having my baby and husband lounging on the bed next to me during the stitching and clean-up and such. I felt like the queen of my castle.

I don't think I could have ordered up a better home water birth experience. It makes me want to share it with every woman so they can know it's a great option. But I guess for now, I'll just share it on my blog.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Waiting for Godot


Every few days I get a burst of hope and inflate my birth pool...only to watch it slowly deflate over the course of the next few days as the girls play in it.

I like this warning on the bottom of the pool: (Strictly No Diving). I just envision desperate pregnant women in labor lining up trying to dive in. Sorry, that's strictly forbidden.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ready, set, ...

We're all ready for the baby around here. I'm ready to get rid of the belly. Austin's ready to take 2 weeks off of work. Sammy's ready for the birthing pool to show up. (I told her it was an indoor swimming pool. Bad idea. It's really hard to take back jokes with 4-year-olds.) I'm pretty sure Cici is hoping the baby is actually going to be a baby puppy. In any case, we're all ready.

Yesterday, I was looking at my parents' calendar and realized that with all their trips and conferences I actually do need to have this baby soon if I want my mom to be here. On top of that, I finally finished my ridiculous labor project, so now I'm just fiddling around the house obsessively vacuuming corners.

From reading people's blogs and stories online, the ridiculous labor project seems to be a common phenomenon among pregnant women. I know I've had one (or two) with all three pregnancies. With Sammy my ridiculous project was patching and painting and making new curtains for our rental apartment...that we were moving out of two weeks after she was born. With Cici, I have fond memories of the craziness of fixing up our house to sell and crawling along our basement floor hammering in baseboards a day or two before she was born, and then the night before I gave birth going into this wild baking frenzy that produced apple streusal bars, (which weren't even that great.)

With baby #3, I decided that somehow it would be important if the house was decorated for her birth. I guess as a middle child I'm just a little sensitive about her feeling like she's just "another girl" and nothing special. You decorate for important occasions and her pending arrival definitely is one. So I started with our front door. Nothing fancy, just a simple spring wreath for our spring baby.

(Also grabbed a St. Patrick's Day bow-tie for our welcome bear. He's so cute he's ironic.)
Voila! The front of our house is festive! Then I moved on to our banister. After taking down the Christmas greenery it was looking a little bare.

The festive spring flags actually didn't take too long. About one day with the girls "helping." But then I decided that our huge, unwieldy fireplace mantle that I never know what to do with needed to tie in somehow with the banister for a cohesive look. Because remember, a cohesive decorating look is really important for when you have a new baby.

Voila again! A jaunty garden of spring flowers burst into bloom! They also burst all over my coffee table and floor and sofa for about two weeks, in a glorious hodge-podge of hot-glue sticks, paper cutters, scraps, twine, ribbon, and buttons. There's no way I could have my baby until the project was done. In my defense, making paper flowers when you're a detail-oriented person is a very tedious process. I averaged about one a day before I grew incredibly bored. Which I think is the opposite effect a labor project is supposed to have, thus making it into a ridiculous labor project.

Anyway, for anyone that cares to listen to me whine, with my project behind me, I'm now supremely ready to have a baby. Off to vacuum!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Rebozo Rocking

I'm kind of in a pregnancy rut. Normally I love writing on my blog, reading interesting books, having a life, etc., but these days my brain is very baby-centric, so the only things I really want to write, read, or do with my life involve some aspect of the baby coming this month. (Okay, probably next month.)

Last Saturday Austin and I went to a birth class at my midwives' office. I had a hard time convincing him to go. Before Sammy was born we took the hospital-sponsored series of birth classes, and I made him go with me to the last one on breastfeeding...the memory of extreme boredom is still seared on his brain. It was probably like going to a class on baking cookies when you don't own a kitchen. However, as the ever-supportive husband he came around and said he would go with me this time, probably because I mentioned that we would learn how to use a rebozo, which sounded intriguing and weird and possibly fun to make fun of.

I thought it went well. I could tell Austin was zoned out a few times, but overall the class was very practical, especially as to labor relief techniques that the husbands could help out with. I think Austin had fun rocking my belly with the rebozo, and is now gung-ho about me chopping wood in labor...apparently there is some doctor in China that makes his laboring women chop wood out back to get their babies in good birth positions. We also got a good chuckle when the teacher mentioned the birth video of a couple that had their baby out on their back's kind of our joke that we should have the baby on our back deck and shock the neighbors. Of course I borrowed the DVD afterwards. The dad seemed very proud of their deck baby..."Yeah, I tell people that we had our baby at 3 p.m. on a Sunday, ON OUR DECK!"

More baby prep updates to come. Hopefully nothing involving our deck.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Purpose of Valentine's Day

As far as I can tell from looking at Facebook, the purpose of Valentine's Day is to brag online about the cool things your husband/significant other did for you on the big day. Now, don't construe from this that I'm a hater. I know some people really dislike Valentine's Day, representing it as a contrived, artificial holiday to celebrate something as deep and undefinable as love, but I am not one of these people. I actually think Valentine's Day is a great excuse/reminder to do something nice for your significant other. In fact, this year it was an excuse for Austin to book us a trip to Maui for the weekend.

I basically spent the whole time in a swimsuit or a bathrobe: relaxing, swimming, snorkeling, whale and dolphin watching, beach-walking, and having nice dinners with my husband. (Yes, I even wore my swimsuit to one of those. For a pregnant, sunburned woman, less clothes = bliss.)

Happy Valentine's Day 2013!

One up, Facebook posters.