Thursday, October 31, 2013

high gear

Things are kicking into high gear on the adoption front here! All of the things I kept forgetting about or putting off for "later" are now...well, now or never. So this will be quick!

We've spoken with our birth mom both Tuesday AND Wednesday, which makes me SUPER happy and excited. She is progressing towards labor and her doctor said yesterday that it could be anytime!! So our suitcase is packed,

our ugly non-diaper-bag diaper bag is packed,

our quickly-borrowed bottles are sterilized and ready, 

and we don't silence our phones at night! READY!

Our families are on high alert, everyone ready to drop everything and drive south at a moment's notice. It is so exciting!! My SIL Emily is thinking she will be born on the 3rd, since there's apparently a full moon that night. That would work for me!!

Yesterday we found out that Ellison is (estimated to be) an itty-bitty thing- approximately 5 lb 6 oz right now! She still looks very healthy, and our birth mom said that her first daughter was born quite small, but healthy and full-term. So I'm not concerned (actually I'm kind of excited because then she will stay a baby longer, right?), but we did have to make another run to Target (tragic) to buy some teensy preemie clothes! All of the other (mostly borrowed) stuff we have will be enormous on her if she's really that small!! 

I'm frantically trying to get prepared for my maternity leave at work. We had interviews on Monday and Tuesday for a temp to cover in my absence. We hired someone who I think will be fantastic yesterday, and I start training her this morning! Even though there will be a temp, I feel like I've spent the last few weeks trying to cram the next 3 months's work into a couple days. Don't know if there will actually be anything left for her to do while I'm gone!! Okay, that's a lie. Good luck, girlie. 

Guess what HASN'T gotten done yet? Yeah. The bumpers. Oops. Haha. Looks like I'll be sewing with a newborn on my hip (arm? Ergo? Wherever newborns go). Another thing we haven't done: grocery shop. Or cook. I couldn't even tell you what we've eaten this week, but since my thighs don't seem in any danger of wasting away, I'm assuming we scavenged something.

Alright. Gotta get back to DOING ALL THE THINGS. Happy Candy Day!!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

post-baby exercise planning

Last night we made one of (if not THE) our last trips to our gym of the last four years.  Almost as soon as we knew about the adoption we knew we'd have to cancel our we went to cancel a few weeks ago and now it's done. Due to the cancellation rules, we ended up still having to pay for another month and we have access through the middle of November, but then it's done. No more gym.

It was an easy decision to make. First and foremost, our gym is quite small and doesn't have childcare. That pretty much made cancelling our membership a no-brainer. We're not toting a baby around the gym, and we're not going to try to arrange childcare for her (after she's been in childcare for the entire workday already) so that we can go work out. We could theoretically go to the gym separately, but we've never had much success doing that, so I don't really see that being something we'd do often enough to make it worth the money we pay them every month. So basically the logistics of gym-workouts (not to mention that our gym is 15 minutes away from home and NOT in the direction of Athens/work) made it a simple decision. Not to mention now we can pocket that money every month, which is a huge bonus when you're trying to figure out a new budget that includes OH CRAP FORMULA IS EXPENSIVE.

It also made it easier that for probably the last 7 months or so we've been weaning ourselves off the gym anyway. We started training for the triathlon in April and that immediately had us doing most of our working out at home (or close to home, at a pool) for our biking and running. We ended up just liking that better...running on a treadmill has a lot of perks (like air conditioning, easy access to a potty, televisions to distract you, the ability to change the elevation immediately if a hill is too hard...actually, everything about a treadmill is better than actually running outside, now that I think about it. Dangit. What have I done.), but running around our neighborhood and nearby streets is just as effective and also saves us from a half hour of driving to/from the gym. Biking outside is WAY better than biking on a stationary bike. And we also have a small assortment of weights, ropes, punching bags, and other various at-home workout 'equipment' that let us get a more well-rounded workout experience if we wanted. So we really got in the habit of almost never going to the gym, unless it was raining or extraordinarily hot (which, don't get me wrong-- it frequently is...), and found out that sometimes we worked out even better/more often if we stuck to doing it at home. Like if we had only 30 or 40 minutes to squeeze in a workout-- that's not even long enough to drive to/from the gym. But it's plenty long enough to throw on your shorts and running shoes and knock out a couple miles on the streets around your house. 

Then in September or so I discovered that running in the morning, while tough (mostly the part where you have to crawl out of bed an hour earlier), is actually really do-able for us. And so we've started doing that a few times a week. I'm not sure how sustainable that's going to be through the winter-- my asthma issues are cold-weather and exercised-induced, so while I'm used to dealing with the issues that aerobic exercise always bring on, throwing in the extra variable of FREAKING COLD may be more than I'm comfortable pressing through...but, maybe I'll figure something out. And it's really only freezing cold for a short time here. 

So anyway, what we've been thinking through and talking about is this: what are we going to do for exercise once Ellison is here? Although we're no stellar athletes by any stretch of the imagination, we have managed to make exercise a regular feature of our lives for the last four years, and I don't want to consider what would happen (to my mental health AND my thighs) if we stopped. I know we're going to be exhausted from the baby. I'm not under any illusions that I'll have some magical situation where I wake up fully rested every morning, itching to go on a run. But I also know that I want to keep exercising regularly. It makes me a happier person. It's healthy. It gives me energy. And I can't afford to get fat and replace all my clothes. Lots of reasons to take a half-hour of my time and do something with it. 

In a way, Matt and I feel like God was sort of preparing us for this next season of exercising over the last few months. We used to be really gym-dependent for our workouts. I pretty much only took group classes. He pretty much used fancy machines. We can't easily replicate those experiences at home. But now we're used to the at-home thing. And so now we just have to figure out when/where/how we can keep it up with the baby in tow. I don't know if any of these ideas will actually work out, but I feel better knowing that at least we've thought about it and have some things to try when the time comes.

Our 'Things that Might Work' for Exercising After the Baby:

-Running with the stroller. Duh. If Ellison likes the stroller and/or sleeps, then we could do this pretty much any time, right? Early morning runs could still work (if we can keep her warm enough) or in the evenings after work. This seems like a no-brainer.

-Running one at a time. One of us stays home with Ellison, the other runs. Swap. This would work at any time of the day...if she's already sleeping or needs to eat or whatever...this seems pretty logical.

-Biking with Ellison in a bike seat or trailer. This will have to wait until she's quite a bit bigger and also will require purchasing equipment, but this could be a good option in the future. Except I think I might be too scared to put her in one of those trailers. So we'll see.

-Videos at home. We have a decent spread of workout DVDs already and could add in some more (or something really fancy like Insanity or P90X). We could do these together or separately, when Ellison is asleep or awake (if she has a swing or something), rain or shine...seems like this would be a super flexible way to get in a workout.

-Gym at my work. There is a really really teeny workout room at my work (maybe 3 cardio machines, a weight bench, some free weights, jumpropes...REALLY SMALL) and an indoor track. There are also showers and locker rooms. So we COULD use that stuff (for free) whenever we wanted, but that would mean either going to work earlier (having Ellison in childcare longer) or staying later (ditto), so I'm not really sure. I guess if we wanted to do it after work we could also go GET Ellison and bring her back to my work and then take turns watching her/working out, but that seems kind of like a lot of work. And I just think we're going to want to spend time with her and not the kind of time where you're passing her back and forth between sets. But who knows.

-Later, if time and budget allow, join a gym in Athens that has childcare. Then we can stop and work out on the way home from work, so it won't be any extra driving- just the time of ACTUALLY exercising.

So those are some of the things we've thought about trying. I wanted to write them down so that in a month or two, when it's been 6 weeks since I last saw my running shoes and I'm wondering how on earth I ever thought I could work out with a newborn around, maybe I'll look back and see these genius ideas and give one of them a try. Or maybe not. But it can't hurt.

One other thing I'm doing is reading blogs of moms that make exercise a priority. Some of them are doing insane things like running ultras, some of them are just regular working moms who still manage to make exercise a part of their lifestyle. Either way, they all inspire me to not just settle for a sedentary lifestyle and they demonstrate that it can be done. I need that inspiration...even now, while I don't have a kid, I sometimes convince myself that I'm 'too busy' to exercise. And then I remember all these women with multiple kids, jobs, pets, commitments, and if THEY can still make exercise a priority, then I need to shut up and take my flabby buns on a jog. 

That said-- I did not go running this morning because I worked out too hard at the gym last night and I'm too sore to run today. Ha. I am the best excuse maker EVER!!

Monday, October 28, 2013


Fabricgate: The True Story of How the Blogosphere Saved My Nursery

(subtitle: #projectgetbabyellisonherbumpers)

You may recall that on Friday, when re-telling the story about how my friend and I started sewing the bumpers for the nursery, that I mentioned that I'd need to run back to the store for more fabric to complete the project. You probably actually DON'T recall that, since it was a minor detail so inconsequential that it was just a side note inside of parenthesis. That is indicative of how unimportant the fact was: we ran short on fabric. After work Friday, I would run back by the fabric store and pick up the last yard-and-a-half that I needed. Then we would be able to finish the job. No big deal.

As planned, we went to Joann's after work. I quickly located several of the fabrics I bought three weeks ago (coordinating fabrics in the same 'line' as the bumper fabric), but couldn't locate the actual fabric I needed. That's weird, I thought. They were all together last time. They weren't on clearance or anything. Just regular fabrics in the regular fabric section...and it's only been a few weeks. Probably they just ran out at this store. I'll go to another fabric store and look there. Obviously I am uneducated in the art of fabric-buying...I assumed they had pretty much the same fabrics at every store. Ha. After texting Catherine about the no-luck at Joann's and my plans to drive to Hobby Lobby and Hancock, she informed me that different stores carry different brands and that I probably would NOT find it at either of those stores. She suggested I look online and order there (or drive to another town with a Joann's and look). 

After arriving home, I set out on what would turn out to be several hours of internet sleuthing. Luckily I had some scraps/edge pieces of the fabric so that I could see what brand it was-- that definitely helped. What didn't help was that no matter what I did, I could NOT find the fabric on Joann's webpage. Other fabrics by that brand? Yes. The other fabrics that were in the nursery? Yes. The fabric I really needed to finish my last two bumpers? NO. Hmmmm...

Finally, some advanced Googling/Pinteresting took me back to the Joann's webpage via some weird 'back door' or something, and there was my fabric:


Oh wait. NOT YAY. Please see the small print (follow the arrows).


Like any normal person, I screen-shotted the page and posted it to my Instagram with a #craftfail hashtag. This seriously bummed me out. I mean, let's keep it in perspective-- it's not the end of the world. I could piece together my scraps and have some seriously seam-y final 2 bumper pads, but I could have those seam-y sides be the ones that face the wall and no one would be any the wiser. Really not the end of the world. A bummer, but one I can probably live through. I continued on my internet hunt, hoping I could find some other retailer that would have the fabric in stock...while simultaneously convincing myself it would be totally fine if I couldn't. Worse things have happened. Ellison won't be scarred for life if two of her six bumpers have *gasp* extra seams where I piece the fabric together. Hopefully.

But the internet had other plans for me.

When I looked back at my Instagram, I discovered that some friends of mine were equally horrified at this tragic turn of events. People were suggesting webpages to hunt on for fabric (no dice). Even more, people were offering to go to their local Joanns to scour the clearance racks for the fabric! Really??! My awesome IG friends even birthed (heh heh) a hashtag for the event: #projectgetbabyellisonherbumpers !! I mean, you know it's serious when there's a dedicated hashtag involved. Fo' real. So in no time flat, I had several offers from people to go look at their Joanns the next day (it was late Friday by this time). My heart was so happy-- look, baby Ellison...people are either totally cray-cray or they REALLY LOVE YOU A LOT ALREADY because they are willing to wake up on Saturday mornings and go hunt for fabric for a girl and a baby they don't even really know. Ridiculous. And awesome.

In the meantime, I (and a few other resourceful friends) found a lady on Etsy selling 'my' fabric. For a freaking ridiculously marked-up price, but still. So I rested easy Friday night knowing that if the 'nation-wide scavenger hunt' didn't pan out with any fabric, I could still get it from Etsy.

No need. By 10 a.m. Saturday morning, I had this text from Amanda (side note: do you have as much trouble differentiating between my twelve thousand blog friends named Amanda as my husband does? It's really ridiculous.):

VICTORY IS MINE!!! Or...hers, actually. But still mine too. Upon visiting her local Joann's and talking to the folks working there (what a concept, I could have tried that too and saved everyone some trouble...hindsight and all that), she discovered that the fabric had been discontinued and was available at only two stores in the state: Conyers (metro Atlanta) and Augusta (where my parents live and where I'd originally bought the fabric in the first place). Since Amanda was already planning to go to Zoo Atlanta that morning and Conyers was 'on the way' (so she says...I haven't looked at a map yet to see if this is actually true), she just went to the Conyers store and bought the rest of the bolt. 

We met up later that afternoon at a Target about halfway between our houses. This is what it looks like when you meet up with the person that just saved your nursery:

Amanda seemed surprised that I'd want to take a picture. HAHAHAHAHA. Are you kidding me? One day when I bore Ellison with the story of how it took a village to make her nursery, I'll need this photographic evidence. So we had a fun little 20-minute hangout in Target and the Target parking lot and it was a picture-perfect ending to our (not-actually-really-a-crisis) 22 hour 'Fabricgate' situation. Amanda-- THANK YOU! And thanks to all the rest of you who volunteered to go hunt, too!! You have no idea how happy this whole thing made me. Also, you have no idea how hard it was to explain to the people who don't really 'get' blogging/blog friends how it was that people I don't actually 'know' from all over the country were hunting through dusty piles of fabric just for some silly bumpers. I can't really explain it either. But it's pretty freaking awesome.

So #projectgetbabyellisonherbumpers was a raging success. Not that I've actually finished making them or anything. But at least now we can. The weekend was fun and productive in other ways, too, but I think that the fabric scavenger hunt put the biggest smile on my face. You guys are awesome.

I found this fun pillow (to go in the glider) on clearance at Target-- isn't it a perfect match??! Also got the fun little box to the side to hold wipes/random things. All in all, a good weekend for the nursery.

Friday, October 25, 2013

thank God for crafty friends.

 Last night after work Catherine came over and OMG MADE A HUGE MESS OF MY DINING ROOM!!!!!

Sheesh. I mean, you invite a friend over and then they show up and totally wreck your still-clean-from-the-home-study house? Ridiculous.

Luckily the mess was not in vain. As you probably deduced, there was definitely a reason for the dining room-turned-seamstress-factory. Our crib bumpers!! (Which I know are completely pointless, possibly dangerous, and altogether unnecessary. I know. But they are also really cute, adorable, and fun, and so...yeah. I will absolutely take them off when they are a safety hazard. But for now I really want them.)

I count myself as very blessed that I have such talented friends who are willing to shoulder the brunt of the work when I make rash decisions like deciding I must have homemade custom crib bumpers...but I can barely pull my own sewing machine out of the closet without breaking it and getting so frustrated I scream. Catherine came over to "help"...and by "help," obviously I mean that she did 90% of the work and I did the tasks that a first-grader could have mastered. But then later in life I'll take all the credit for my sweet bumpers, don't worry. I'll forget the part where Catherine actually did most of it and I pretty much ironed and fueled her with snacks. Whatever. That's what friends are for.

It was a very fun evening, despite the frustration that's inherent in any sewing project (for me). And by 9:30 we actually had something to show for our struggles: ONE (of six) COMPLETED BUMPER!

If this isn't the most awkward picture you've ever seen, I don't know what is. I would like to blame it on the fact that the fashion industry/blogosphere has not yet offered us a standardized "here's how you pose with your homemade crib bumper and a friend" pose yet, so we were just winging it. And also tired. And also pretty excited. So whatever. At least you can see the bumper! (The zig-zag fabric hanging from the dresser behind us is the crib skirt. Since we don't actually have a CRIB yet, we were improvising so that we could see how it'll look)

We still have a lot of work to do to complete the other five bumpers (including me going back to the fabric store for more fabric), but most of the prep-work is done (cutting, measuring, etc.) so the rest of it should go much faster. I am all set to finish all the ties myself over the weekend, but Catherine will have to come back (with her serger, because it is awesome) to "help" me actually sew the rest of the bumpers together.

It's you and me, baby. This weekend. Don't you dare break or have any BOBBIN PROBLEMS because I will kick you in the face.
It made for a wonderful Thursday night. Let's face it, even if I could sew all this stuff by myself, why would I want to? It's a great excuse to hang out with Catherine for a few days. And then one day I can tell Ellison all about how her room decorations came to be, how her Nannie (my mom) and I made her crib skirt, how Auntie Catherine made the bumpers, and how the thread on the underside of the ties is cream instead of white because her mommy is completely inept at threading bobbins and decided that she really didn't care if it was a different color because that was just blasted easier. All kinds of love and life lessons there, right? Right. 

And now it's Friday! In honor of my Canadian friend Janet, and because she so kindly supplied me with more than just junk food in my package, I spent a few minutes playing with some of her props for a little mini-Funny Face Friday session. Janet does these almost every week and it always makes me happy.

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

things you should know about Canada

I finished Allegiant last night. It's now up to 489 reviews and STILL rocking about a 2.5 star average. I haven't officially 'voted' yet, but I would probably give it maybe a 4. I did not really like the ending. BUT- I really enjoyed the first probably 85% of the book. So I hate to give it a totally bad rating when I did get many hours of enjoyment out of it. The ending did not do justice to the trilogy as a whole. I'm a sucker for happy endings. I want to get some payoff for the time and emotional energy I invested in this (imaginary, but so what?) world. I don't like to end a (combined) 1500 pages of reading by feeling depressed. But...the genre is what it is, so I can't say it was altogether shocking. In all, I would definitely still recommend the Divergent trilogy to someone who hadn't started reading it yet. And I don't want to give any spoilers away for those of you who haven't finished reading it yet, so I'll stop now. (Oh, but since I had to remove "Allegiant release date" from my countdown app, don't worry-- I replaced it with a new countdown to the Divergent movie release! See, my priorities are still intact!)

I've learned a lot of things in the 6-ish years I've been blogging here. (RABBIT TRAIL: when we were talking about the internet of the 90s the other day, some people mentioned having used Xanga to blog back in the day. I definitely had a Xanga for several years. I went to see if it was still there and discovered that Xanga has like...done some kind of crazy thing, I don't really understand, BUT I was able to download a zipped file of my blog's archives. I can upload it to another platform and it should be intact. I am considering doing this and then starting all of you off on a scavenger hunt to find it. The prize would be laughing your face off when you see how lame and emo I was in college. HA.) One of my unexpected 'learnings' has been how awesome Canada is. It's pretty embarrassing how little I (and I would assume many of my fellow Americans) know about our upstairs neighbors. Prior to my Blog Awakening, I would have probably guessed that there were about 11 people total in the entire country and that they all lived in igloos and drove sled dogs to get to work (which would be playing hockey). Clearly I didn't have a stereotyped view at ALL. *ahem* Anyways. I am very glad to have learned differently and now count several Canadians amongst my favorite people.

But did you know that Canadians are like really REALLY excited about their country's junk food offerings? Like...REALLY excited. I would have assumed that America, home of the fat and the lazy, pretty much cornered the market on Junk Food Excitement. But it looks like Canada is trying to give us some competition. To me this has been most evident in the attempts of my Canadian friends to 'evangelize' me with Canadian junk food. Seriously! Please take a look at two of the packages I've received in the past month (and I've had a few others in previous months):

The package on the left is from Natasha. I neglected to take a picture of what was inside because I was so amazed by the forty billion stamps on the outside of the box. Natasha takes her Canadian junk food (and general gift-giving) very seriously-- I believe this is actually the THIRD time she's sent me fun packages! She introduced me to the wonder that is Coffee Crisp candy bars and for that I am forever grateful. Trust me. They are amazing.

Yesterday Janet made my day with her awesome package. Janet did her part to make sure I will not be wasting away of malnourishment any time soon. ;) Both Janet and Natasha feel that Ketchup Chips are an integral part of the Canadian dining experience, and I can't say I blame them. They've sent me two different brands and both of them are amazing. I am already looking forward to the bag I'll enjoy with lunch today. She also sent some Tim Horton's coffee and Smarties. I haven't tried either of those yet, but since coffee and chocolate are two of my favorite food groups, I highly doubt I'll be disappointed. 

So anyway. Don't let anyone try to convince you that Canada has nothing to offer but snow and hockey. There are also some legitimately amazing people AND some super delicious snacks up there, which makes it a great place in my book. 

With that, I'm off to finish researching (Googling) "what should I ask a pediatrician at a prenatal visit?". So far I'm pretty sure I'll sound like an idiot, so it should be pretty exciting. Have a happy day! 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

a mid-allegiant update...

Here's my jolly re-cap of yesterday (and today, from the looks of it) in one-picture format:

That's right. Allegiant. I downloaded it at approximately 8 a.m. yesterday and have spent every spare minute devouring it. I felt really cool and cutting-edge when I went to download it yesterday because it had only SEVEN reviews at the time. I mean, obviously it was only released that morning, so not a lot of people had had the time to get it, read it, and review it yet, but still. I felt like I was one of those people who discovered the band first or something. The bad news was that even with only 7 reviews, the average star rating was like 2.5!! Now it's up to 217 reviews and it's still holding out with an average review of about 2.5. Not sure what's going on. I started to read some of the reviews but SPOILERS, so I stopped. For comparison's sake, the first two books in the trilogy have eleventy-thousand reviews each and an average star rating of like 4.75 (out of 5), sooooo...apparently something must go terribly awry at the end of this one for people to be hating it so much. That's a bummer. So far I'm still loving it (60% through; 31 chapters completed)...maybe I should stop reading now and just make up an ending so that I don't end up dissatisfied? Yeah, no.

Relatedly, anyone know who is playing Tris and Four in the movies? This is suddenly very important to me. I might have to do some research.

Completely unrelatedly, I discovered this vegetable (fruit? produce product?) at the store on Monday:\

 I think it was called 'Buddha's fingers' or something and it is the weirdest thing I've ever seen. In a classic display of maturity, I grabbed it and sneaked up behind Matt and tickled his side with it. It was great. I'm sure all of my fellow shoppers agreed. I mean, I don't know what else you're supposed to do with something that looks as freaky as that. Eating it seems entirely out of the question.

We had our home study last night. I think it went fine. I basically just feel sick to my stomach all the time about everything adoption-related at this point, so that's about all I have to say about that. I want our baby home and for everything to be over with and to not be worried all the time. Or at least to worry about NORMAL mom-things, like crying and feeding and whatever. We have an appointment with a pediatrician tomorrow. I feel like I should have lots of well-thought-out questions to pepper him with, but basically I don't. Ugh. 

On that note, I must return to my book. And my pointless fretting. Ugh.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

an exciting 90s flashback!

Do you remember the internet from back in the day, back when there really wasn't a whole lot ON the internet? I do. I remember back in the early 90s, when it was dial-up Prodigy and AOL and all there was to do on the internet was go to chat rooms and make up lies about who you were and then...yeah, that was pretty much it. You were limited to like two hours of internet a month, so you had to really ration out your chatroom-lying sessions to make it last all month. Then I remember when email got 'invented.' Or at least I remember when my friends and I started using it. It's not like we really had anything to say, but there was just something super awesome about tying up the phone line (so that your siblings couldn't talk on the phone) so that you could TYPE the stuff you wanted to say instead of just...saying it with your mouth. Good times, ye internet of olde. 
Anyway, I remember in the late 90s and early 2000s when email was pretty well established and I would guess that 90% of the reason was because people discovered the magic of filling out 'surveys.' Well, I call them surveys-- I guess that's not really accurate. LISTS OF QUESTIONS would be more accurate. It was like chain mail- someone would answer this loonnnnng list of questions about herself and then send it to all her friends, and then we would fill it out and forward it on to OUR friends and it was this amazing chain of self-discovery and teenage drama (OMG HE was her first kiss??!?!! AHHHH!!!! My life is ruined!!!). I always loved it. I couldn't WAIT to get another questionnaire email thingie. What probing questions will they think of next??! It was so exciting.
All that to say-- in 15 years, not much has changed. I still get excited when I see a bunch of random questions and people want to know my answers. So when Jessica and Caroline nominated me for "Sunshine Awards" and my task/reward is to answer a bunch of questions...well, I got pretty excited. So all that to say-- get ready to probe deep and learn a lot of useless information about yours truly. Here we go!
From Jessica
1. If you had one food to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Mexican food, of course. I will pretend it all counts as one food. My second choice would be pizza.
2. What is your greatest fear?  
Losing Matt. And birds touching me.
3. Favorite Bible verse/quote. 
For the last few years, I'd have to go with Lamentations 3:22-24: "The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!'"
4. What do you want to be when you grow up?
A mom. And an Office Girl. (This is loosely defined as a girl that works in some kind of office and wears cute clothes. I've always had such lofty goals...)
5. If you were an elephant, what color would you want to be?
Most likely gray, since that would probably help me to live longer and not be killed by poachers/predators. But if poaching and survival weren't an issue, then I think a turquoise elephant would be lovely.
6. You are an Olympian....what sport are you competing in? 
It's tough to say since I excel at sooooo many sports. Probably pairs figure skating, gymnastics, or synchronized diving.
7. If you have 5 minutes of free time at home, what do you find yourself doing? 
Checking blogs, of course.
8. Top item on your bucket list. 
Have a kid(s).
9. What one feature sets you apart from everyone else?
My freakishly long fingers.
10. Are you a crier, screamer or in-betweener? Describe how you most commonly express your emotions.
DEFINITELY not a screamer. I honestly don't think I've ever screamed at anyone (in anger or emotion, that is. I'll holler at you across the house if I can't find you, though. Or if I'm in the shower and I need you to fetch me some shampoo because I forgot and ran out...) I'm not as much of a crier by nature as a lot of girls that I know (and also my dad), but I do tend to cry when I'm angry, which is the lamest thing ever. Mostly I express my negative emotions by being silent and making mean faces. Obviously my emotional maturity level is sky-high.
From Caroline
1. Night Owl or Early Bird?
Uhhh...Middle of the Afternoon Puppy? First of all, why do we have to use birds as both of our descriptors? And second of all, neither of those times of day is really my forte. But I guess I'm better at night than morning. Maybe.
2. How many languages do you speak?
One SUPER WELL (I'll let you guess what that might be), one semi-crappy (Spanish). I do okay conversing with kids in Spanish. Kids that aren't sticklers for grammar and don't care if you conjugate verbs or not. I could also probably get by just fine with Spanish-speaking adult cavemen. I'm great at nouns and I can point, so...yeah. I studied Arabic for 2 years in college, which was approximately enough time to want to stab my brains out. I remember the alphabet still, though!
3. Where were you born?
In Ohio, actually. My parents lived there for a short stint and I happened to be born there, but we moved back to Georgia when I was 2 and I've never been back to Ohio. 
4. What are you most thankful for in 2013?
Well, if our adoption goes through, I'm guessing I'll be pretty thankful for Ellison.
5. What is something you have never done, but would love to try?
I would love to ride in a hot air balloon. I'm pretty sure it would be awesome.
6. Warm or cold weather?
Despite the excitement I have right now that the weather is cooling down, I really love warm weather the best. I will be over the cold in about 2 weeks. I enjoy the warm for at least 6 months.
7. Youngest, Middle, Oldest or Only child?
OLDEST, obviously. And I live up to pretty much every stereotype you've ever heard of about oldest kids. 
8. Do you have any nieces or nephews?
Of course! I have Baby Timmy and Carley. They are the best niece and nephew ever!
9. Music or TV/Movies?
I enjoy all of the above.
10. Beach or Mountains?
 Beach, hands down, any day. Please. There's not even a competition.

That was as fun as ever! Thanks for the questions, ladies! Now I am going to make some questions of my own so that we can spread the joy of question-answering even further! I'm not going to tag anyone because I have a deep fear of inadvertently leaving someone out and hurting their feelings (maybe I really haven't changed much since the 90s AT ALL), so therefore anyone who feels inspired and/or has writer's block and/or loves puppies should answer these questions on their own blogs. And tell me if you do (or plan to) so that I know to read your answers and become enlightened!

Here's the new questions:

1. If you had to be on a reality TV show, which one would you choose? 
2. If you had to be on a TV game show, which one would you choose?
3. If you could have a top-of-the-line, totally tricked out household appliance (just ONE!) for free, what appliance would you choose?
4. What company could you be the spokesperson for?
5. Why did you start blogging?
6. Would you rather have 10 cats living inside your house or 10 dogs (mixed breeds/sizes)?
7. Which Disney princess do you most identify with? Or prince. Or villain. Or goofy side-kick. 
8. What is your most hated food item?
9. Would you rather have a tame lion or a tame panda as a pet?
10. Did you make up fake identities to use in AOL/Prodigy/CompuServe chatrooms in the 90s? Did you ever meet a perpetually-sixteen-year-old girl named 'summergirl' who was a twin? If so, did you ever wonder what happened with her, since she was such a cool girl with such an amazing life, diverse experiences, and was also filthy rich? I bet her life is awesome now...

Next time I have writer's block, maybe I'll answer these questions myself. In the meantime, I gotta get back to my chatroom...TTYL! A/S/L? LYLAS!

Monday, October 21, 2013

i need another weekend.

Whew. It was an exhausting weekend. And I hardly took any worthwhile pictures. So at least you've been warned. 

But first of all-- I totally LOVED everyone's enthusiasm for my survey on Friday!! Apparently spending free money is right up everyone's alley. And so is voting (so patriotic). Because I've now discovered that SurveyMonkey caps my free account at receiving 100 responses per survey. I had no idea that this limit existed because previously the most votes I've ever gotten on a single survey is 56...well, you guys have already more than doubled that! Holy cow. But I can only see the first 100 responses unless I would like to pay to upgrade my account, which I would not. So anyway. That is really lame. But I will share the (first 100) results soon! Spoiler: Target wins.

I'm not entirely sure if the busy-ness of our past month of weekends has anything to do with the Impending Baby, or if that just adds another layer of stress (like, here I am doing these fun things/going fun places, BUT I SHOULD BE PREPPING FOR THE BABY!!!), but it's been ridiculous. I've never had so many busy and traveling weekends in a row. Probably in my whole life. But whatever. So this was another one, but at least I got to sleep in my own bed the whole weekend, so I guess that's something. I shall divide the fun and productivity of the weekend into categories. That way, if you're sick of hearing about baby prep, you can skip it. If you hate my friends and don't want to hear about them, feel free to skip that. But if you hate imaginary dystopian societies presented in fictional young adult books....I really don't know why you're even here. Move along, now. ;)


On Saturday afternoon through Sunday morning we had a fabulous little mini-visit from Kristina and James (and their kids Adoration and Asa). We don't see each other nearly enough (they live in Jacksonville...which is far closer than they USED to live, in West Palm Beach, but still not very close), but they were in Georgia for a wedding and a half-marathon and came through to spend the night. I'll take any minutes I can get with them, so it was a wonderful afternoon and night.

On Saturday night we met up downtown to eat with some other (both in-town and out-of-town) friends we don't see nearly often enough. It was a fabulous evening. After dinner we all went back to our house and enjoyed a backyard fire and s'mores in the new fire pit Matt built last week. We were too busy stuffing our faces and laughing our heads off to take a lot of pictures, but I did manage to get one pretty awful shot:

Ooooh...ahhhhh...that's a framer. Not. Our visit was too short but still wonderful. 

On Sunday afternoon I had a fun blog-friend mini-road trip! Amanda G. and I jetted up to Atlanta to visit Jennie and sweet baby JB!

 Since I maintained my perfect record of not getting axe-murdered on blogger dates, PLUS we got hold a baby, eat yummy pumpkin muffins, and lust after Jennie's fabulously cute house, I will call it a huge win of an afternoon. I love it when hanging out with blog friends in real life is just as great as you had hoped/thought it would be. These girls are awesome and we enjoyed a few hours of great conversation and took a few pretty terrible pictures. :) Jennie should not be surprised if Amanda and I start showing up on her cute doorstep regularly just so that she can keep her excellent hostessing skills brushed up and we can keep our baby-holding and coffee-drinking skills up. A mutually beneficial relationship, right? Right.

In addition to these two big 'friend' events, we also had a birthday breakfast with Matt's family and church, so in conclusion: this introvert needs to go hide in a hole for about a month before she can talk to anyone else. Ha.

Baby Prep

Friday night we bought this adorable outfit. Ellison needs something sweet to come home from the hospital in, right? This SAYS it is 'newborn' size but it looks about eleven feet long to me, so I guess we'll see. It has a matching hat that you can't see in this picture.

On Saturday we made a semi-stressful tour of all of the furniture stores in town in an attempt to locate a suitable glider/rocker for the nursery. We ended up ordering one at a local boutique-y store thing. I'm excited because it is exactly what we'd wanted PLUS ended up being cheaper than anything we found anywhere else, PLUS we got to customize the fabric and everything. So it will be perfect. is custom. And made in America. Which means it won't be here for like 8-10 weeks!! So Ellison will be in high school or something. So that's a big bummer. Please join me in praying that there aren't any snowstorms that shut down the glider factory in the Northeastern US, as that would further delay things. Ha. But seriously. The girl talked about this issue for like 10 minutes. Apparently it's a big deal.

I'm excited about the glider. I'm NOT excited that the store uses such an awful font (CURLZ). I'm trying to be a big girl and look over that terrible choice, but not until after I point it out on every social media outfit. Just FYI: It is grown-ass women with grown-ass checkbooks shopping at your store, Uppity Baby Store. Cutesy fonts are completely unnecessary. We all understand you're a baby store by virtue of your name and the fact that your store is filled with cribs and overpriced BABY STUFF. We don't need an 'adorable' font to drive the point home. Pick a real font. 

Glad to get that off my chest.

Yesterday morning we got our car seat! Some friends-of-friends gave it to us (don't worry, it still has 2 years til it expires) and showed us how to install it (easier than I'd anticipated). I don't actually plan to leave it in there for the next few weeks, but we forgot to take it out and then noticed it once we were in the car on the way to work this morning. But that's okay because then I could take a picture with it. So anyway. Empty car seat. Yay.

Young Adult Literature Update

ALLEGIANT COMES OUT TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Obviously I am trying hard to save my paid time off for my maternity leave, but I'd be lying if I said I haven't given serious thought to taking a personal day tomorrow in order to devour Allegiant. It's not like I'll be able to think about or concentrate on anything else anyway. Maybe I'll go hang out in a doctor's office this afternoon or something to see if I can catch something that would give me a legitimate reason to stay home tomorrow. ;) Anyone else chomping at the bit to start reading?? Anyone else choose as lame of things to put on your countdown apps as I do? Didn't think so.

Friday, October 18, 2013

those bossy benefactors...

It's been too long since we've had a survey, hasn't it. Yes. Let's fix that.

Imagine that you're just going about your day and then ALL OF A SUDDEN a very generous (but bossy) person pops into your day. Let's call that person Erika. So Erika has had some wild idea that she's going to just GIVE YOU $100. For free! For nothing! All you have to do is SPEND IT. But Erika, in typical Erika fashion, has a lot of rules she wants you to abide by to play her little game.

You only get one hour. Whatever money isn't spent when the one hour is's gone. Disappears. BURNS. No one else can ever have it, so there's no point in saving any.

You only get one store. You can't change partway through your time. ONE STORE, so pick wisely.

You can only spend the money on YOU. Not your husband. Not your dog. Not your kid. Now, if you choose to buy like...a chair...well, sure, other people can sit on it. But this money is for you. No buying pajamas for your kid or a Halloween costume for your dog. NO.

You can't give the money away.

You can't spend it on something boring like bills. It has to be STUFF. From a STORE.

Alright. Can you abide by those rules? Then you can have the money. Choose wisely, and...go!

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

some people are/like planners

A few weeks ago I mentioned (and gushed over) the new personalized planners my co-workers and I got. No doubt dazzled by the picture of the three of us posing with our awesome loot, many of you a) confessed to being fellow lovers of planners and b) wanted more details/a review/my opinion about my new one. Well...ask and ye shall receive, right? Let's get the nitty-gritty specs of my sweet new planner, shall we?? WE SHALL.

First off- to be clear, this is not a 'sponsored review' or anything like that. We picked these out all on our own and paid full retail for them. Well, our boss did. ;) Which is definitely the way to go-- I say, if you can get your work to sponsor your new all means. DO IT. So anyway. All opinions here are mine and influenced by nobody else.

My new planner is part of the Family Planner line from PlumPaperDesigns, a very nifty little Etsy shop. I'm not a terribly seasoned Etsy shopper, but the girls at PlumPaper were super easy to communicate and work with. Since we were ordering 3 unique planners with different personalized sections and add-ons (more later), but we wanted them all shipped together (for the lower shipping rate), we had several conversations with the store owners to make it all happen. They were friendly, reasonable, and easy to work with. And FAST. Bonus points for fast.

I had several non-negotiable traits I needed in my new planner.

1) I MUST have both month-at-a-glance and week-at-a-glance. 
2) Need to have enough space to keep my daily work and lists well-organized AND have plenty of space to write in.
3) Not flimsy. Needs to hold up well.
4) Not ugly.

In a perfect world, my planner would also include:

1) Cuteness and bright colors. 
2) Personalization/monogram
3) Free money

I am happy to report that my Family Planner met ALL of my non-negotiables and MOST of my ideal traits (you can probably guess which one it lacks). YAY! So here we go.

Alright, so right off the bat we can see: obviously, it's cute AND personalized. And you probably can't see it, but the covers are durable-- there are clear plastic covers on the front and back (protecting the cute covers). I put the ruler there for scale-- it's about 9 inches long.

You can choose how many months you want your planner to have (AND you can decide what month you want it to start with. No need to constrain yourself to a January start or August start, people-- GO WILD! Start your calendar in March if you feel like it!!). Mine starts in January 2014 and goes until June 2015- eighteen months. 

Sooo...eighteen months means that this puppy is THICK. It's really a very heavy planner. And for my purposes here, that is fine with me-- it's my work planner, so it primarily sits on my desk or I carry it to other rooms in the building for meetings. It being large doesn't bother me. BUT if this were my 'home' planner and I was planning to tote it around in my purse...HECK no. It would weigh me over, which is really saying something (if you've ever felt the weight of my purse already). So that's something to consider. If it had less months, obviously it would be lighter.

It's about an inch and a half tall. The spiral is pretty big. Honestly, I do have a bit of trouble writing in it because of the spiral sticking up in the middle. But that could be a personal/left-hand-writer problem. (For clarity- I'm actually right-handed. But I write LIKE a left-handed person (like, the way I hold the pen and drag my hand across the page), which is hard to describe, but people almost always point it out when they see me writing. I blame it on my left-handed mom being the one who taught me to write. Anyway, spiral notebooks have always given me problems)

So if you like large-and-in-charge planners, you're on the right track here. If you're a lefty who's unable to lift 3 pounds...maybe keep shopping.

Ugh, all my pictures are blurry. Who does the photography around here anyway? Shameful.

As you can see, this planner meets the month-at-a-glance requirement. For bonus points, all of the month pages are different colors- YAY! (That serves no purpose other than visual interest, for the record.)

It also has a nice huge two-page spread for each week. The days go across the top, horizontally, with long vertical rectangles for each day. Saturday and Sunday don't get shafted (like they do in many of my other planners)- they get equal space. You may notice that each day is sub-divided into smaller boxes. THAT is the beauty of this planner, my friends. You get to PERSONALIZE the boxes down the left-hand side of the week (those are in red, in these pictures (although again, the colors change for every month)).

Those seven labels? I picked 'em. They correspond to different aspects of my job, so they won't make sense to you, but they help me keep MY work organized. My two co-workers have completely different labels on their sections. If you were using this for your own home/family, you could label the sections with your kids' names, or spots for your meal plans, or your workout schedule, or like...whatever else you do. SO MANY POSSIBILITIES!! I will tell you-- these personalized sections are what totally sealed the deal for us. Instead of having all of my tasks lumped together in one shared section, now I can see at a glance what I'm doing for which area. LOVELY.

So there's the Family Planner from PlumPaperDesigns. Since it's not January yet, I haven't really started using it, beyond going through and putting in all of the dates and events I know about for next year. I think that once I get used to the weirdness of the huge spiral in the middle I'm going to absolutely love it. Mostly because of those personalized sections. And the cuteness. Trust me, it took me and my co-workers like two weeks to place our orders because we couldn't decide which covers we wanted. SO MANY CUTE CHOICES. 

Oh- several people asked how I would compare it to an Erin Condren planner. I must say that I can't really compare- I've never had an EC before. However, from what I can tell, you can't personalize sections on the EC planner, so just for that- I'm giving the prize to PlumPaper.

Now...go forth and plan!! (Or mock those of us who care this much about planners. Your choice.)