Friday, October 24, 2014

almost twins

One of my favorite things about parenthood so far is when people proclaim that Millie "looks just like you!!!" 

On the one hand, I feel like that's just one of those things you're supposed to say to people toting around babies. It's not something that I normally say to folks, because I happen to think that most babies look alike (and cute, of course) and that very few babies actually resemble adults. Sometimes I think that babies look like their older siblings. But I'm terrible at gazing at an infant and seeing Mom's eyebrows and Grandma Mildred's nose. So I will normally stick with a safe "aww, he's adorable!" and call it a day. 

But sometimes strangers will instantly declare that Millie and I are basically twins, and that always makes me laugh. Are they saying it because it's just something to say? Or do they really think we look alike? And if it's option B, then should I either blow their minds or embarrass them by informing them that there's no genetic reason that we would resemble one another, or just smile and agree? For the record, I pretty much always go with the nod-and-smile-and-thanks. Because Millie is undeniably gorgeous, so by saying we look alike...well, they're basically calling me a supermodel. Basically.

But sometimes it's not strangers that say this- often times it's folks that know us, know her, and know our story. And so with them it's not just a toss-out's spoken (or written) with a certain measure of awe and how cool is that?-ish-ness. And I completely concur. How cool is that?? I certainly did not expect to parent a child that resembles me. I long ago gave up that hope and expectation for family resemblance. We wanted to be parents, period- we finally came to a place where we didn't feel a deep need to share genes with our kids. And so I fully anticipated that our family would have more of a 'melting pot' look- even up until the day Camilla was born. Her birth parents look nothing like us. Millie is multiracial- I certainly thought that would be a little more apparent to the naked eye. And maybe someday it will be- she's still tiny (although growing less tiny by the day, SOB). Her features will certainly mature and change and maybe one day we will look a little more melting pot-ish. But for now, oddly enough- I guess we really do look kind of alike! Or as alike as babies and adults can, I suppose. It's easier for me to see it when I look at my own baby pictures. 

Behold: the Almost Twins!

I don't know. I sort of see it, but then I also think that any two random white babies with dark hair and dark eyes might look equally alike. ;) 

At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter. It's fun, it's trivia, it's intriguing, but it doesn't really matter. Love has nothing to do with looking alike physically. It does have a lot to do with dressing alike, though, which is why Matt and I have always enjoyed coordinating our outfits- a practice we now include Millie in, of course! And I love when people notice and exclaim "Oh wow!!! You both are wearing moccasins!!!!" they just grew off the end of our feet like that? Uhhh...yes, it was definitely part of my plan. ;)

And while I was busy digging through old photo albums, I did come across something pretty hilarious.

Check out that sweet diaper cover! Ha!! No wonder everyone in my parents' generation stares at me with shock and disgust when I mention that we choose to cloth diaper our child. If this is what you're imagining...well, yeah. I don't blame you. I'm glad that CDing has come a long way since then!!

Much cuter! But also, this was probably 6 weeks ago...she was so tiny! The diapers don't look nearly this huge on her now!
Before we go, I have a very important issue that you need to weigh in on. If you've been around here for awhile, you may recall my post from October 2011 called "babies should not be dressed like clowns." It's one of my favorite posts and it contains some of my favorite and creepiest Baby Erika pictures (spoiler: I'm dressed in a clown costume). I later had a follow-up post, "so maybe babies should SOMETIMES wear clown costumes," wherein I shifted my position slightly given some new information. So here we are today- I finally have a baby of my own, and I also have in my possession the very same clown costume I was wearing in those pictures- the one my mother made for HER baby (me!!) back in 1983. Obviously the question is this: should I dress Camilla up in the clown costume? Would this be the creepiest and most disturbing thing ever OR would it be a most incredible opportunity for side-by-side twin clown pictures?? I could go either way here, so feel free to weigh in. It probably doesn't matter, but for the record, the costume will probably be really big on Millie- I was almost a year old when I wore it, and I was huge for my age. So...take that into consideration, if you must.

Have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

the last week

It's my last full week of maternity leave. This is definitely good cause for much weeping and gnashing of teeth, but I'm trying to look on the bright side, savor the time we do have, and blah blah blah all that positivity stuff instead. That hasn't translated to doing very much exciting stuff (unless you count watching 300 episodes of Gilmore Girls exciting, which I do), but I do have a few Cute Baby Pictures I've been rudely hoarding, so at least I can share those.

We kicked off our week with Camilla's "two month" doctor visit...even though she's closer to three months now. Oh well. Details, details. 

Camilla pre-appointment:

 Look at that jolly, happy baby!! 

Camilla post-appointment and post-shots:

Don't worry or call CPS- she was being well-supervised. You can even see my butt indentation on the cushion next to her, so...proof. Proof that I should go to the gym immediately.
Not pictured: lots of inconsolable screaming. For two days.

In conclusion, she did not really like her doctor's appointment. On the plus side, we found out her height (23 in) and weight (13 pounds 9 oz) and the doctor was happy with her health and overall smile-iness. Oh and she also confirmed that her eyelashes are in at least the 99th percentile. But on the other hand, the misery of shots far outweighed all that,

While I've enjoyed the extra snuggles and her wanting to be held all the time and nap on my chest all the time (and watch Gilmore Girls all the time, obviously), I have not enjoyed the random screaming bloody murder or the fact that I'm running a sympathy fever (??? is that a thing? I have a fever for no reason, then). I hope that things go back to normal soon.

This did give me a great opportunity to use one of the Big Four Parenting Excuses, though. I've been excited about getting through them all and now I'm halfway there! As a pre-parent, I observed that parents blamed basically any and every negative or out-of-ordinary thing their babies did on one of four things:

1. Growth spurt
2. Teething
3. Shots
4. Time change

So now I've officially played the 'oh, it's a growth spurt' and 'she's screaming in a restaurant because she had SHOTS' cards. I just can't wait to use the other two- shouldn't be long now for the Time Change, but I'm hoping she doesn't start teething for at least another year. I want her to be a toothless baby for a really long time.

On a completely unrelated note, some neighbors down the street put up the best Halloween decorations EVER.

I know it's really hard to see the writing on the gravestones- apparently my nighttime iPhone photography isn't the best. And I keep saying I'm going to go take a picture during the daytime, but Millie had her shots and also I'm running a fever and apparently can't walk five houses down...

Anyway, this is a graveyard of our SEC rival teams (including the ones we aren't playing this year, ha). The gravestones are HILARIOUS. Like in the front left, you can see "Mizzou and A&M: Death by Chubb" (he's our unbelievable running back) and like- that is freaking awesome. Anyway. This makes me think I need to become BFF with these neighbors. In addition to having the best Halloween idea ever, they also have fabulous roses, a front porch swing with gorgeous pillows, and a baby girl who appears to be about 6 months old. My new life goal will be to befriend them. Mark it down.

Speaking of football- I'd like to give at least partial credit for last weekend's win to Millie. Chubb can take the other half of the credit, but I'm guessing he wouldn't look nearly this cute in polka dots.

In case anyone ever implies that you should not layer a red polka-dotted tunic over a black polka-dotted onesie...well, obviously they are wrong. Yet another fashion win for the baby (and game win for the Bulldogs)!!

Monday, October 20, 2014

the matt interview: walking dead ed.

Annnnnd it's time!! 

This week I had the opportunity to sit down with Matt B., renowned extra from the Season 5 premiere episode of AMC's Walking Dead. Matt was understandably busy dealing with all of the press and paparazzi hounding him regarding his illustrious performance (that mostly did not make it past the cutting room floor), but he was kind enough to throw a bone to his wife this aspiring journalist and answer the questions that were burning on all of our minds.

For the sake, journalism...and ease of reading and stuff, I've combined/consolidated similar questions. To see all of the original questions and who asked them, please see the original post regarding his Walking Dead experience.

Also, I'm taking a lot of journalistic liberty (let's play a drinking game where you do a shot every time I use a form of the word 'journalism'- GO!) (you're drunk already!) and mostly summarizing the answers in my own words here. Writing down people's speech verbatim is exhausting. They don't pay me enough for all that.

How did you get to be an extra?

Not to brag or anything, but it's all thanks to his fabulous wife. Seriously.

Awhile back I started following a Facebook group called Extras Casting Atlanta. They film a lot of amazing shows and movies around Georgia now, and I'd heard that you could sometimes figure out what they were casting for based on what kind of extras they were looking for. Plus, it's downright funny sometimes- like this posting from last week:

A good example of a casting call I would not apply for...
So one afternoon in May I saw them looking for a '6 foot 2 male, dark hair, slim athletic build' for a shoot the next day. Sure sounds like someone I'm married to...and Matt happened to have the next day off of work. I emailed him and he thought it sounded like fun and sent in a few pictures and whatever other info they asked for.

They didn't get back to him until the next day, at which point they'd already filled that particular role- but they said "hey, we need some more folks for Walking Dead next week...would you be able to do that?"

Hmmm...let's see. Our favorite show. Matt has roughly twice as many discretionary paid days off as I do (meaning he has PTO to burn)...uh, yeah, he was available. After he replied that he was indeed interested, it started getting really fun. Over the weekend they sent several emails with all the (classified!) details about where to go, when to report (freaking early o'clock), what to wear (really old and dirty clothes and shoes, don't shave), what not to bring (phones, cameras), who not to tell (anyone, lest they sue you), and how not to act once you got there ("DO NOT BOTHER THE TALENT!").

So to summarize, really the only 'qualifications' that he needed to be an extra were that he was available on certain days and was willing to drive to Atlanta really early in the morning. 

How long did it take to get ready for your scenes (makeup, wardrobe, etc.)?

"On the first day, there were LOTS of extras, so it took awhile. We all had to line up, then go through these stations where they would look at your papers, see what your role was [Matt was a Terminian, or 'Termite,' as the insiders called it], and then get your sizes for pants, shirts, shoes, etc. Then I would put it all on, then they would look me over and decide they didn't like that shirt or whatever, so they'd have me change to a different one. A few times.

Then I would go to makeup and they would put dirt and 'sweat' all over my face and hair. Then I would go outside and they would put dirt and stuff on my clothes. All throughout wardrobe and makeup they are taking pictures over and over so that my dirt and sweat would be consistent when they reapplied it later (and the second day)- they would make notes on the iPad that there was a sweat spot on the left shoulder, stuff like that."

Probably the only selfie Matt has ever taken! This was one night after he got home from filming.
How many days were you there?

"Two- a Monday and a Friday. The first day was much longer- there were a lot more extras that day and we were there from about 5 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. On Friday there were fewer extras and it was a shorter day, only about 9 a.m. to 5 p.m."

What was it like working with the zombie actors? Did it freak you out?

"Well, you gotta understand that there are three different types of walkers. There are some that are only shown [on TV] from so far away that really all they do is just make them look dirty- they don't look scary up close, just dirty- they're only filmed way in the back of a horde or something. Then there are some that are kind of mid-level, that get more extensive makeup and gore on their bodies. Those are the ones that get killed. Then there are 'heroes' that get extensive makeup, prosthetics, gore, and those are the ones that the camera gets on close-ups and stuff. They don't kill those, they're the ones that they usually show full body and up-close for several seconds or more.

So yeah, the heroes were kinda scary with the prosthetics, there were one or two mid-level walkers that were scary because they would just stare at you awkwardly. But then everyone else just looked dirty and they weren't very scary."

And this is Erika speaking- you didn't ask, but Matt did tell me this back when he filmed and I thought it was so interesting: the walkers don't make any of their sounds/noises during filming. All of that is dubbed in later in editing. So while Matt's group was guarding the fence and stabbing walkers through it, they weren't making their gmmmhhhhhuuuuu ghhhhuuuuuu noises that are creepy and intimidating like you see on TV- they were just silently pressing and grabbing against the fence! Isn't that crazy??

Were there any special effects things you got to do?

"Well, they trained me to shoot a machine gun with blanks, which was really cool. But then they didn't have time to actually shoot the scene, so I didn't get to do it. But I did get to wear the machine gun on my back in the scenes I did shoot. I was there when they blew up the big tank thing [that Carol shot], though. I didn't get to see it because we were eating lunch, but there were lots of fire trucks and firefighters there and it was really loud."

Did you get to meet the cast?

"The other extras and I got talk with Mary, who was one of the main actors/characters in Terminus [she was killed in the Season 5 premiere]. I saw Carol on Friday, but I didn't talk to her or anything. None of the other main cast members were there on the days I was there, though."

What was your favorite part about being an extra?

"Catered lunch, haha. Really just the whole experience of being on a set and TV show was cool."

Did you get to keep anything from the set?

"Only the makeup on my face." ("And the memories in your heart," prompts his lovely wife.) (And they mailed him his paychecks a few weeks later, so he got to keep those, too.)

Did you scream at Carol and Darryl to make out, because I totally would have?

Haha, sadly, no- he didn't see that scene being shot. But I'm sure he would have if he could've!!

How is Matt going to top 2014? A daughter AND an appearance on WD seems like a pretty tough combo to beat.

"Awwww man, I don't know! How do you beat that??"

If life really is like Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon, doesn't this experience practically make you BFFs with Andrew Lincoln?

I'll assume this question is for me, so I will say YES- we are basically BFFs now.

Not exactly a question, but: he go PAID?!? I would have sworn extras did that for fame not fortune.

Yes, he did get paid- but not much. Non-featured extras like Matt got paid about $8.50/hr (and time and a half for anything over 8 hours/day). probably don't want to quit your day job to be a full-time extra. ;) But that was really the minimum- extras that got close ups, speaking roles, walkers, or anyone more 'featured' got paid a lot more.

Proof is in the paycheck! $ was tough not to get too wild when such riches arrived in the mail!
Anything else you want to share that I didn't ask about already?

"Yeah, it was kind of funny that a lot of the extras apparently DO do 'extra-ing' frequently- a bunch of them all knew each other and were like 'oh hey, I know you from Catching Fire!' or 'we worked together on Fast & Furious!' and stuff. So apparently you can semi-make a living doing this if you want to, I guess. Oh, and a couple of the extras had never seen the show before."

Annnnddd...that about wraps us up. If you have any further questions, just ask in the comments and I'll get the answers there and post them so that everyone can see them. And one more time, for good measure: a repeat of the screenshots of Matt in his legendary Walking Dead role.



Friday, October 17, 2014

highest praise & a supermodel

After all my waxing poetic about body wash yesterday, you'd have thought I got it out of my system. But nope. In the course of 'researching' for my post and looking up the products on Ulta and Target's webpages, I happened upon some user reviews that a) made me pee my pants laughing and b) made me need more products by this line. Please enjoy:



Both of these reviews are for a different scent (Superfruit Complex Bubble Bath/Body Wash), but obviously I will be buying it (or begging Matt to get it for me) at my earliest convenience because it SMELLS LIKE ANGELS DESCENDED FROM HEAVEN AND DID A SWEET SMELLING DANCE IN THE BATHROOM??? It FEELS LIKE YOU ARE BEING LOVED?? Who are these reviewers and why aren't they writing poetry?! And why won't they be my best friend? We obviously have similar passion towards bath products, so 

Then I did end up going to Target last night specifically to buy some of the lotion (even though the humidity is still 700% most days, my skin is so dry it is ridiculous), but I just went with the tried and true frankincense & myrrh scent (because that Superfruit Complex is apparently only carried at Ulta). I also got the body scrub, because better safe than sorry and all that. Soooo...if you want to come hang out in my bathroom and smell all my products this weekend, I totally understand.

Let's see. In non-bath product news... there any??...

Oh yeah.

Millie's eyelashes continue to grow at an alarming rate. It's almost like God is forcing me to turn her into a baby model. Just kidding. But not really.

I tried to get a good picture of them while she was on her activity mat the other day.

That one was close, but they really are more impressive than that...just hard to capture on camera, I guess. But at least I captured this face:

Since Matt and I both make that ridiculous expression about 50 times a day, I'd say there's no question where that came from!

She may not decide to go into baby pageants, but she does seem to already understand the importance of accessorizing. She managed to wiggle the plastic ring on her elephant toy up onto her arm like a bracelet yesterday!

She was pretty proud of herself. Or maybe I'm just projecting.

We received an order of headbands and bows from Turbans for Tots yesterday- I was SO excited, as I've been scoping out proper head decoration since long before she was born. Naturally, Millie was napping when the mail arrived, so I had to wait several excruciating minutes before she woke up and could model them all for me. But it turned out to be worth the wait!!

I probably need to start watermarking my pictures so that unscrupulous companies don't steal her beautiful likeness and market their products with it. GAHHHHH she is beautiful!!!

After our post-dinner trip to Target last night, I spent a few minutes pretending there weren't a million other things I needed to be doing around the house and sipped hot chocolate and started a new book (that I've had on hold forever and FINALLY came in!).

It was delightful (and the book is good so far, although I'm not far in). I look forward to doing it a few more times this weekend. Yay fall!