Thursday, December 31, 2009

break out the party hats, i'm trying menudo for the first time tonight!

2009 will be the year I got married and 2010 will be the year I became a mom and I couldn't be happier about either one. On our wedding day, Ki and I were ridiculously excited to be getting married and fairly apprehensive about how everyone was going to behave. My sister-in-law told us several times to wrap ourselves up in the love we had for each other, look into each other's eyes, and not let anyone steal our focus from starting the next phase of our lives together from us. That's my biggest new year's resolution, to live out the entire next year wrapped in the love Ki and I have for each other and our baby and to savor the good moments as we work through the tough ones.

Happy New Year's Eve! Do something nice for yourself today and tomorrow. You deserve it.

end of the year survey doohickey

what did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?
-- Started the process of having a baby. Got married.

did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
-- I didn't really make any. I have a few in mind for this upcoming year and will write about that later.

anyone close to you give birth?
-- My sister brought Little Miss Tori-licious into the world! My friend H had her beautiful daughter. I think that's it...

did anyone close to you die?
-- Nope.

what countries did you visit?
-- None.

what would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
-- A sense of sanity.

what date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
-- July 24th: I found out I was pregnant and Ki and I decided to get married. July 31st: We told our families we were getting married. Aug 24th: I met my OB and quite possibly favorite doctor ever. Sept 4th: First ultrasound. Sept 11th: All hell broke loose with family drama about my bridal shower and wedding. Sept 18th: Ki and I got married! Oct 22nd: Full anatomy ultrasound where I saw my baby's heart chambers, brain, and major organs all wiggling around.

what was your biggest achievement of the year?
-- Getting married because I was ridiculously in love and desperately wanted to spend the rest of my life with my husband.

what was your biggest failure?
-- Losing my job and my husband and I having to move in with my parents.

did you suffer illness or injury?
-- Not really.

what was the best thing you bought?
-- Wedding rings.

whose behavior merited celebration?
-- Me and Ki. We're having a baby and we got married!

whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
-- Mine. More depressed than appalled though.

where did most of your money go?
-- Rent, bills, the usual boring things that suck it all up.

what did you get really, really, really excited about?
-- Ultrasound appointments.

what song will always remind you of 2009?
-- 40 Dogs by Bob Schnieder

compared to this time last year, are you
i. happier or sadder? -- happier
ii. thinner or fatter? -- about the same i guess
iii. richer or poorer? -- poorer

what do you wish you'd done more of?
-- Taken time to just sit and breathe.

what do you wish you'd done less of?
--Procrastination

how will you be spending Christmas?
-- Christmas Eve, Kiris and I went to my parent's house and spent the evening with them and my sister and her family. Christmas Day we went to K's mom's house. Both times were definitely good times.

did you fall in love in 2009?
-- More in love with Ki and fell in love with our little baby.

how many one-night stands?
-- None. Not my style, plus I'm very happily attached.

what was your favorite TV program?
-- The Office. Top Chef. Criminal Minds.

do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
-- Nope

what was the best book you read?
-- Nothing really stands out.

what was your greatest musical discovery?
-- none

what did you want and get?
-- True love.

what was your favorite film of this year?
-- Didn't see many movies really.

what did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
-- I turned 29. We had Coldstone. It was very low key, what with the recent news of me being pregnant and the wedding coming up.

what one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
--More confidence in my decisions.

how would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
-- Ugh. None.

what kept you sane?
-- Getting to come home to a loving husband.

which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
-- I barely paid attention this year.

what political issue stirred you the most?
-- Health care reform

who did you miss?
-- I don't know. I kind of missed myself. Towards the end of the year especially, I've kind of felt like a shell of myself.

who was the best new person you met?
-- Baby C

tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009:
-- Love can carry you through an awful lot.

quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
-- You take the high and I'll take the low,
We'll get there before you know.
We ain't got no time to waste,
We got too much life to taste.

We're like Romeo and Juliet,
And 40 dogs, cigarettes,
We're like good times that haven’t happened yet but will.
And I can tell you where we're gonna be
When the whole world falls to the sea:
We’ll be livin’ ever after, happily.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

humpday happiness

A list of happy things...

...cooking a whole meal with Ki for my parents.
...plain sparkling water.
...Ben and Jerry's ice cream.
...The West Wing.
...more unpacked than packed boxes in my room.
...late night movie time.
...a working and used fireplace.
...holding my youngest niece.
...how excited my parents were about their Christmas presents from us.
...Ki's hair.
...having a really good AND funny OB.
...today is the last day of my second trimester.
...chicken taquitos.
...text messages.
...Facebook comments.
...my nails growing at super speed and still being strong.
...sleep.
...back rubs.
...my bed side lamp.
...central heat.
...not plucking my eye brows every day.
...the smell of a freshly cleaned bathroom.
...the smell of fresh laundry.
...my super wiggly baby letting me know when s/he likes things I've eaten.

Monday, December 28, 2009

the thought of you there is my protection

Well, a week in, I have to say that living with my parents is a pretty good deal. I mean, I knew it would be on paper I just wasn't sure if there would be a period of awkwardness or anything like that. I think all four of us are doing alright though. There are two unexpected perks that I am really enjoying. One is my parents have a water softener and two is my husband has been going to bed at the same time I do.

I have wretchedly dry skin. I have literally my entire life and it's manageable but I definitely have to use Dove soap and put lotion on all over every day. Every so often little eczema patches will flair up but it's usually directly related to weather changes or intense periods of stress in my life. None of it is a really big deal. But since I've been pregnant, my belly, back, and thighs have been itching like crazy. There is actually a syndrome that can cause excessive itchiness in pregnant ladies and I was tested for it (which is my endorsement for nothing is too small to bring up or ask about!) and don't have it. My doctor gave me a personal recommendation for a particular body wash and I tried a few lotions and basically got it taken care of.

I realize none of this is a very big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it was a pregnancy related issue I could actually do something about... Anyway...

My parents have a water softener. It is glorious. I can drink right out of the tap which means Ki's days of lugging home containers of water are at least on hold. And my skin is very very very happy. I don't even have to use the body wash to keep the moisture in! Also, it takes longer to rinse off soap in general with a water softener which means showers are extra luxurious because they have to be a little longer. My mom said I'll get used to it. I probably will, but in the meantime, it's a nice little piece of happy in my routine.

My husband is a hardcore night owl. He can exist on a normal person routine but really prefers to stay up all hours and sleep well into the afternoon. He currently has a job that affords him that opportunity so he takes advantage of it. I just can't stay up with him all the time. Most of the time I would go to bed (at a very late hour for most people's schedules) and Ki would come to bed a few hours later. It didn't bother me at all and was no point of contention. But I really like my husband. So these days when he goes to bed with me and we lay in bed and catch up about our days and whatever we've been thinking about it just makes me really happy. I like curling up with my husband or even having just our feet touching. Plus back rubs are really amazing in my life right now and since he's just right there, I can get him to rub my back a little bit every night.

There are still lot of pieces to shuffle around to get everything we need to fit just right, but I kind of wanted this to just be a happy little entry. So maybe more later...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

turn on the light and reveal all the glory

I don't remember if I've talked about this before, so forgive me if this is a giant repeat. When I found out I was pregnant, I dreaded the point of my pregnancy where people would want to touch my belly all the time because I don't really like it when people touch me anyway. If I know you, it's okay and I know it's weird, but I just have to ease in to a lot of things like that. People think I'm strange and I can't help it. Anyway I had absolutely NO IDEA that way before anyone could see I was pregnant that they would give me all kinds of "tips" and tell me "helpful stories." No two pregnancies are alike, even in the same woman. And if you had once kid thirty years ago, your advice may not be the most medically responsible.

Lately though, people have been telling me to enjoy sleeping now because it's going to be miserable once the baby comes along.

First of all, let me tell you that sleeping has been difficult lately. My back is constantly aching, my legs often cramp up just as I finally find a position that make my back feel better, and I can't seem to sleep in stretches of more than four hours at a time. My amazing husband snores most nights so although it is possible for me to get back to sleep, it takes awhile some nights. The baby's most active time seems to be about 2 am to 5 am and sometimes all the wiggling, jabs, and kicks literally wake me up.

Second of all, there is no sleep bank I can store "extra" hours in to draw from later.

Thirdly, I will in no way appreciate how easy I have it now until after a few weeks breastfeeding a newborn. I can think I understand, I can think I'll be prepared, I can think I know what a luxury it is to roll over and go back to sleep now, but I won't REALLY know until March and April.

Strangely, I don't even mind people's hands on my belly. People that I know at least. I love feeling my baby move around and I guess just assume everyone else should feel how fantastic my kid already is. But Baby C knows the difference between my hand and anyone else's, even Ki's, and will kind of pause in the moving around to readjust.

That's my sleepy whining for the day, folks. Tune in later for something more entertaining. :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

humpday happiness

A not all-inclusive list of things making me happy...

...watching my belly move as my baby practices limbering up.
...my adorable husband going to bed with me every night this past week.
...back rubs.
...my youngest niece's way of lunging for me when I hold my arms out.
...baking cookies with the munchkins.
...getting settled into some pretty nice new digs.
...Christmas music--the hymns, not the other crap.
...mineral water.
...Pantene shampoo and conditioner. Yes, sometimes I am that shallow.
...getting my computer back up and online.
...doing a bunch of domestic type things lately. Maybe nesting, maybe just giving in.
...emailing with old friends.
...Christmas cards.
...having a dvr to use.
...cranberry juice.
...the clickity-clack of the keyboard when I'm doing a lot of typing.
...text messages.
...watching Army Wives on dvd.
...the hysterical news that my baby will be a larger than average newborn.
...talking about names with Ki.
...thinking about what Christmas will be like next year with a child.

Friday, December 18, 2009

sleep and labeled boxes

My new sleep schedule is kind of messed up.

I go to bed and fall asleep for a few hours. Then I wake up and have to walk around or generally be out of bed for a little bit and after an unspecified amount of time I can often fall back asleep. Sometimes my husband is still up so I'll sit in the living room and talk to him for a bit. But if he's not up, I'll go in the living room and watch tv and lay on the couch until I fall asleep again. I don't want to keep him up with restless tossing and turning.

My perinatologist asked me if I was getting enough sleep and I said I guessed so and told her about this new schedule. She said that was fine and just to nap when I could and the hours would add up to enough sleep. I do miss the days of just sleeping through the whole night but I guess those are just gone for quite awhile. It's not completely awful... And we're going to a place that has two DVRs just for us to use and I'm excited about filling them up.

I just got up and used the bathroom and realized I couldn't go back to bed and not wake up Ki, so I'm in the living room. The West Wing is on tv in ten minutes. I moved a few boxes so I can lay down on the futon in a few minutes and just saw one that is labeled "Good books to read, for real. To the house." Instead of going back into the bedroom and kissing my adorable husband, I decided to type it here.

I love him so much!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

26 weeks 0 days

We are moving on Saturday and I had this amazing vision of having everything boxed up and moved out on Saturday. We actually have the apartment for another month but are moving to be able to shut off the cable bundle we have and save on utilities as well. And because I was going to lose my mind with the stress worrying about money was creating. We got a ton of boxes from my parents which was awesome and we had packing tape and I've been plodding along with getting everything off shelves and whatnot into boxes.

I busted ass yesterday packing and then had a tiny bit of a freak out because it seems like now there's just a mess of boxes in the living room but stuff everywhere anyway and I don't know if this is going to get done! Fast forward a bit later into the evening when we realized we were almost out of tape and it's actually probably not enough boxes. I was already hurting from all the bending and reaching and whatnot and I had to call it a night HOURS before I had intended to. Before yesterday I really hadn't had any problems bending over to pick stuff up or tie my shoes or whatever and I had still been able to maneuver my way through tight places. This is just not the case any more. My core muscles were on the verge of screaming last night. And Ki and I had a good laugh while I demonstrated what it looks like when I suck in my gut (spoiler alert, nothing changes with my belly even though you can clearly see me inhale deeply).

I have a strange sleep schedule these days. On a really good night, I can get 4-5 hours in a stretch. Then I wake up, usually hungry, and then I can lay down again for another couple of hours of sleep. On the not really good nights, I just don't fall back asleep or I sleep for 2 hours at a time all night. It evens out to enough sleep most days and I think it's really deep sleep because I never hear K coming to bed anymore, but it's still kind of aggravating. Last night I was in bed much earlier than normal and slept for four hours before waking up. After a couple of hours, I gave up on getting back to sleep and parked myself in the dark living room to watch tv and at least lay down on the couch for awhile. I had an ultrasound appointment to check on the baby's growth this morning. I moved the boxes around (feeling as though I was building a fort) and laid on the couch and got two more hours in before my alarm scared the crap out of me.

My appointment was great! Blood pressure is excellent and the baby is growing like gangbusters. S/he is 2 lbs 6 oz and in the 63rd percentile which means we're having a larger than average baby but not so much bigger than average that it is of concern. S/he was as wiggly as ever. I could watch the ultrasound screen for hours and be perfectly content. It's crazy to be able to feel all that movement now while I'm watching it. I saw the face and my baby already has adorable chubby cheeks! The ultrasound tech tried to get me a really good picture of the face and she couldn't do it because the baby kept blocking the face. I saw forearms and hands and fingers all right in front of the face.

I got a fetal movement tracking sheet and I was just kind of surprised. The first trimester and really the second up to this point have gone by kind of slowly and I didn't realize I was this far along already. Since the doctors speak in weeks and not months, that's how I think too. I was out with Ki on Monday night with a group of people I haven't seen in awhile and one of them asked how many months I was. I had to quickly calculate and then said "Five months" and even Ki was surprised. How does something fly by and take FOREVER at the same time?

I'm not sure where we are going to land with getting the apartment emptied out on Saturday but I am sure going to try to make it happen. If not we still have time, but all the big stuff is going for sure. There's really a lot about pregnancy that no one tells you. Like you may feel just fine but you're not going to be able to be as physical as you feel like you can handle. Sigh...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

my snoring husband

Four years ago this month, I moved to San Antonio. Sometimes I still wonder if that was the best thing to do, but at the time with the information I had it was. I have no idea how my life would be different if I had stayed in Riverside for even just one more semester. I'm pretty sure that there wouldn't be a snoring Ki in the next room right now and that's a good enough reason to have moved.

After Christmas that year that I arrived in San Antonio with all of my earthly possessions, I called a few Starbucks to see about transferring and starting to work. I was getting bored and I was ready to explore San Antonio a bit and meet people who I wasn't related to. After a few calls I ended up with an interview that scared the crap out of me. The store manager asked so many questions that I felt like I shouldn't even be working at Starbucks anymore. Then he called later that day and asked if I could take a shift the next day. I sure could! He tossed me keys and gave me a temporary alarm code and I figured my job situation was taken care of at least.

When I was initially thinking about working, I decided to not get involved with anyone in any kind of personal way. My last store was a big drama filled mess and I wanted to avoid being in that kind of situation again. This resolve lasted until I clocked in and met everyone because I was so excited to be around people that were relatively my age that it was maybe a little sad to them. Maybe not since I did get invited to join in on drinks after work pretty quickly, but still.

I remember I met Ki during my first shift but we didn't work together for very long that day. I was trying to keep everyone's names straight and I had his down because it's so unusual. We were both making cold drinks and scooping ice when he asked me if anyone had given me a hard time or asked questions about being from California. I told him I was all prepared for someone to ask if I surfed everywhere I went or whatever. He asked what I had decided to say and I told him how I'd respond with "No, actually. Are you a real cowboy though? Because I've always wanted to meet one!" He laughed and that was awesome because he's got this deep distinct laugh. I didn't know that I had just connected with my husband, but I did know I wanted to get to know this guy better.

Maybe about a month later, he came in on his day off and told me he had thought of something to tell me the day before but didn't have my number. He was wondering if he could get it so that wouldn't happen again. Honest to goodness, I've never been the girl to get picked up or really flirted with so I thought it was funny but still didn't see us as a couple anytime soon. But he had a group of people from the store and otherwise that he hung out with a lot and I was always invited by someone to join them. Between those times and working midshifts together, we realized we had quite a bit in common. It was a lot of stuff in common but in the best way, like we both love going to the movies but we have slightly different tastes. The same thing with music. There's enough overlap to make it fun but enough different that we always have something to talk about.

In March, we started spending time together just the two of us. We went to the movies and I really didn't know if it was a date or not but I was looking forward to it. We had worked together that day and I changed in the bathroom. He had also brought a change of clothes so that was a good sign... We paid for ourselves but he let me pick the movie. I was pretty much decided and then he said if I wanted to pick a crappy movie we could make out the whole time and that would be fine with him. We just saw a movie though and sat and talked for so long after the movie ended that it actually started again while we were still in the theater. We left and met up with the usual crowd for a drink or two before calling it a night.

We started talking on the phone a lot and maybe the next week or week after that decided to hang out again just one on one. We were both short on money and I asked him if it was okay if we went down town and just walked around. I figured since he grew up here he could show me things I didn't know about yet and I asked him if that was too cheesy. He actually really liked the idea so we set it up. When we initially met up, I asked him if he had plans or if he needed to be home at a specific time. He said the only plan he had was to kiss me before we said goodbye but he didn't need to be home at any particular time. I have a sweet smooth talker. I had such a good time that afternoon! Even when we had to walk for an extra hour because we couldn't remember exactly how to get back where we had parked. We stopped and had dinner on the way back to his place, and true to his word, he kissed me in the parking lot before I went home.

At the beginning of May, we sat in the parking lot of the bar we always went to and had our "define the relationship" or DTR talk. He told me he wanted to make sure we were on the same page and he wanted to know how I felt about him because he knew how he felt about me and other things that made my heart stop beating for a moment because I was crazy about him and suddenly terrified he was done with me. I said since he brought it up, he should go first. He told me he liked me and had a good time with me and wanted to keep his options open and see how things went. Since he was holding my hand during this entire speech, I knew we actually were on the same page. I told him I'd keep my options open too and he wasn't really okay with that. I asked him if there was anyone else he was interested in or talking to and he said no and it was the same for me so I suggested we just be exclusive.

We weren't supposed to be dating though because we worked together and I was a shift supervisor and he was a barista. We just kept it quiet and I don't think everyone knew for at least the first few months. I think because of that, our store manager didn't really have a problem with it. I eventually got another job and we tried to pretend that we had just started dating but no one believed us. It didn't really matter to us though, we were just happy together.

It hasn't been a picture perfect romance by any means. We almost broke up two different times during the first year we were dating. Those two situations are things we worked very hard to get through together and I'm glad we did. No one would have blamed us if we had just broken up. But here we are, married for three months on Friday and coming up on the four year anniversaries of meeting, getting to know each other, and dating.

We've lived together for about a year and a half or something close to that kind of. We were seriously talking about getting married October 2010. When I found out I was pregnant, I was nervous about telling him but not because I thought he'd leave or anything. Just because it really wasn't in the current set of plans and I didn't know how we could take it on and be good at it. He reassured me we'd be fine without me even having to voice my fears within five minutes of me telling him we were having a baby. I know most girls want a big to do proposal with a pretty ring and everything, but I like our story. Curled up together, him rubbing my back as he said he really wanted the three of us to have the same last name from the very beginning and September would be a good month to get married so it would be a separate event from finding out about the baby. We've made mistakes and tried to make them right as we learn from them in an effort to not repeat them later on down the road. And I like us as a team. It's such a fantastic feeling and fact to have him as my family.

I wish I already had a college degree. But I don't exactly regret moving to San Antonio four years ago. I would have missed out on the love of my life and I can't help but think everything happens for a reason. I think God can make your life choices have meaning even if it just takes awhile to get there. Someone once told me that praying to find out where God wants you to be is a waste of time because He doesn't really care. He just wants you to live your life as best you can for Him regardless of where you are. I'm not saying that's what I've done, but I see how God has met me where I'm at to do something miraculous.

I love my snoring husband very much and wouldn't trade him or our experiences for anything.

humpday happiness

Things making me happy this week...

...a good doctor appointment yesterday in which I found out my baby is doing great.
...an ultrasound appointment tomorrow. Yay for new pictures!
...the cold weather only making a very temporary disappearance.
...getting packed up to move.
...spending the entire day yesterday with my husband and having a really great time not accomplishing very much.
...homemade biscuits, even if Bisquick was involved.
...getting surprise Christmas cards in the mail.
...a sister-in-law who believes in giving us treats for no real reason.
...an entire box of peppermint bark all to myself unless I choose to share it.
...triple filtered water from Starbucks.
...sparkling mineral water, especially that which comes with a twist of lime.
...blogging.
...a good bed to snuggle down into.
...random Mary Kay sales opportunities.
...good chats at a pool hall on a Monday night that also qualify as a very cheap night out.
...pizza rolls.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

25 weeks and 5 days

I really love my OB.

I got my positive home pregnancy test on a Friday night so on Monday morning, I called to make an appointment with a doctor. My new insurance covered my old OB/GYN, but she doesn't deliver at the hospital I now work at. The reason that's significant is because any hospital stay is just covered by my insurance. I only have to pay doctor fees. She also couldn't see me for several weeks and I had way too many questions to wait that long! I hopped on my insurance's web site and called the first doctor that popped up and she could see me a couple of days later.

I went to that appointment and just didn't have a good feeling about the office or the doctor. They had just moved the office and hadn't updated the web site or with my insurance so it was difficult to find. Then the doctor was two hours late with no explanation. I understand things come up, but I think my time is valuable too and all I want is a brief explanation and maybe an apology. Then the exam was just kind of not as private as I would have liked it to be. I thought about it for a couple of days and realized I was in complete control of who my doctor was. I went back to the insurance web site and found another office. I liked it better immediately because it was a group of doctors and midwives and not just one practitioner. There was an after hours number and it just felt better somehow. I called and made an appointment with the first available doctor.

She's from here and moved away for awhile and had just come back. So I am one of her first from the beginning patients and I just think she's fantastic. She's very down to earth and easy to talk to and amazingly helpful. She talks to me like I'm a real person and I feel like we could go have a drink and it totally wouldn't be weird. Ki really likes her too and I think that's important.

At my last appointment she started it off by saying "Hey McNeil, do you think I could put a bunch of Georgia O'Keefe paintings in my office or is that weird or cliche since they all look like vaginas?" I personally think that would be kind of awesome because who would say anything? And if anyone is going to have a bunch of paintings in their office of flowers that kind of look like vaginas, an OB/GYN should be it I think.

Anyway, today I thought I was doing a glucose tolerance test for gestational diabetes. It's pretty common in pregnancy and as far as I know not something you can really prevent exactly. Sometimes the extra hormones in your body trick your pancreas into not working correctly and you have to make diet changes and maybe take insulin to correct it. You drink this super sweet concoction and hang out for an hour and get blood drawn. If your levels are in a certain high range, you then do another test that is three hours long. If I have gestational diabetes, I'm okay with that. It could be a good opportunity to set up some really good healthy eating habits. Mostly I just don't want to have to sit in the lobby for THREE HOURS.

My doctor likes to do this test at 26 weeks. Today I am 25 weeks and 5 days. So, no dice which is kind of hysterical. But also a bit awesome because they just gave me the drink to take home and I can drink it and then hang out at home and go to the office to get my blood drawn instead of hanging out in the lobby for an hour. Friday it is!

I gained no weight so my total for the duration of the pregnancy is 4 pounds. The baby's heart beat is super strong and in the 140s. I can use a heating pad for my achy back which is awesome and I go back in two weeks! I have an appointment with the perinatologist on Thursday for an ultrasound so I'm looking forward to finding out how much the baby weighs. Four weeks ago it was 1 lb 5 oz and now I can actually see the baby moving sometimes, so I figure it's like 10 pounds. Just kidding. But since two days can make such a huge difference in glucose tolerance, four weeks is probably a pretty big deal in the size of the baby, right?

Monday, December 14, 2009

baby kicks

Last night I was laying in bed watching tv and I had my cell phone resting on my belly. The baby kicked hard enough that the phone slid onto the bed. For the next half hour, I just laid there watching my belly move all over with little Baby C kicks and jabs. It was really weird and completely amazing all at the same time.

I had coffee (well, I had water) with a good friend yesterday and we were talking about the big things in our lives at the moment. My default random thought position is firmly set on the baby. I feel bad sometimes because I'm not sure I can help talking about it constantly and it must be such a bore to people. For all the days of puking my ever loving guts out or crying so much I figure I'm dehydrated again, I think it's worth it. My head is in a different place and I like it. It's so scary to think about being responsible for teaching someone else about EVERYTHING, but at the same time I'm really excited.

I'm really not in control of this whole being pregnant/growing a baby thing. My body is doing something amazing and I'm along for the ride. I wonder what the baby is going to look like and what characteristics s/he'll share with Ki and me and what is going to come out of nowhere. I wonder if I'm going to be a good mom. I'm so excited to see Ki as a dad because he has been so great with my nieces and nephew and he has so many things in mind to share with our kid.

I am pro-choice because I don't think I or the government has the right to make that kind of decision for anyone. I would like for women to be able to get what ever kind of medical care they need without having to do it illegally and just because I wouldn't make a particular choice for myself doesn't mean I'm qualified to do that for anyone else. Don't even get me started on the difference in insurance coverage for birth control pills which are often prescribed for a multitude of reasons not involving not having babies and erectile dysfunction pills. With that said though, it has been very apparent to me from the first ultrasound that this is very much an entirely separate human being from me. I may be providing a place to grow and the nutrition to develop but I'm not really in control of movement or sleep schedule or anything like that.

I'm beginning to understand that saying that being a mother is like wearing your heart outside of your body. Not fully, but I get it a little better than I did in June.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

fog

For the past month or so, I've been meeting my parents at church and then we've gone to get something to eat afterwards. We go to the early service which I kind of like because it's a capella music and the parking lot is not a mess yet. It's a ginourmous church. I wasn't sure if I'd really like it for a long term kind of deal but I knew if I was going to start going to church again I needed to be able to meet someone there in order for me to actually get there. I have really enjoyed going though and think I'll just keep attending this particular church. God has met me in that place and brought some lessons straight to me and my life. I like feeling like I can hear God talking again.

Today, I went to leave and I was surprised by the fog that engulfed the apartment parking lot. It was misty and kind of magical but maybe not something everyone would feel comfortable driving in. I went ahead and left anyway, figuring that by the time I got gas, I would know if I was going to be comfortable driving to the church a few freeway exits away. I found something kind of startling. When I was looking ahead as far as I could normally see, things were pretty hazy. But I could see far enough to feel comfortable driving and it was like the fog dissipated as I drove. It was still foggy overall, but it seemed to clear up around my truck as I kept driving.

It feels like that's how my whole life is right now. If I try to look ahead to see as far as I can see, I can't see very far and it's a little unnerving. But I can see far enough to keep plodding along and as I take those steps the details all fill in and it's pretty okay.

God drives me crazy sometimes.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

christmas memories

I have this lovely relative that I grew up thinking of as a cousin but I don't know if that's actually accurate. I get confused trying to figure out actual relationships sometimes because there were so many "aunts" and "uncles" and then of course their kids were my "cousins". We're related somehow or another but in any case, she is a really cool person. I wanted to be like her when I was a kid and as an adult, probably even more so. In any case, she's been posting Christmas memories in her blog and it has been fun to read. They of course stand on their own quite nicely but I can't ever hear someone else's memories of something like a holiday and not think of my own.

When I was a kid, we always did Christmas Eve with my mom's side of the family and Christmas Day with my dad's side.

Christmas Eve was ALWAYS a big hubub of a to do with my mom's siblings, my grandmother's siblings, great-grandparents, my mom's cousins, and a ton of kids. The tradition for the meal was to pick a theme of some sort and everyone contributed something. There is always a ridiculous amount of food when my family gets together, not necessarily for the need of having that much but to have that many choices of things. I remember Mexican food, Asian-ish food (my dad sat and made wonton until no one wanted to eat anymore), tritip and all the fixings, breakfast, and baked potatoes with every kind of topping you could ever imagine. Tons of people, tons of food, and a pretty much all day affair.

The pile of Christmas presents by the tree was more than any of us kids could bear to see without at least mentally sorting out in our heads. I never knew of an official time line for everything to happen. It seemed as if the adults knew precisely when the kids wouldn't be able to bear another minute of not being in the same room with all those glorious wrapped packages, and then it would be about another hour before any of them were opened. See, first everyone had to gather in the same room. Next was the reading and passing on of The Fish, Stella, and Santa Claus. Each of these is rotated every year to someone knew and that person must write a recap of the year and then read it Christmas Eve. The Fish is supposed to rhyme but the other two don't have to. I think The Fish is the oldest and it spans back to pages that are barely readable now. It's kind of a cool thing that everyone enjoys but everyone dreads having to write. After all three have been read and passed on to the next person, we would listen to Silent Night. It's a time to pause and reflect on the day, the past year, and the fact that you are literally surrounded by loving people. Christmas isn't supposed to be about the presents. When I was a teenager, my aunt added in the candles. Everyone gets a candle and the flame is passed around the circle until the room is lit up by candles alone. Several adults always cried and us kids tried to impress everyone by knowing every single word to every single verse of Silent Night. Then, presents! Hugs of gratitude, laughter, and just a generally loud good time. And, the first day rule. On the first day of a new present, you don't have to share with ANYONE. We have passed this rule on to many other families and still adhere to it this day.

Christmas Day varied a little more than Christmas Eve. We always spent it with my dad's parents and just depending on the year, my dad's brothers and families would be there as well. From my perspective, the relationships between my dad and his brothers and then all three of them with their parents are complicated enough that I stopped trying to understand when I was about twelve. Usually the food would be much more traditional Christmas fare like ham and green bean casserole and the like. My grandmother usually told the story about how one Christmas morning she made eggs benedict for everyone and used the scissors to mark the page and then completely forgot about them. She blamed my dad, the youngest of the three kids, for misplacing her scissors for an entire year until she went to make eggs benedict the next Christmas and found the missing scissors. We'd eat and do presents and have dessert. My grandmother made several kinds of cookies every year. I remember my favorite ones she ever made where biscotti and as I was on my third one she proclaimed she'd never make those boogers again because they were so labor intensive.

Inbetween, my parents and sister and I had our own little things we did. Santa Claus still comes for us even after the year when I was about 13 that my parents said Santa wasn't coming any more because the jig was so thoroughly up. I think it was that sometimes my sister and I would guess what we were getting from my parents but we never guessed what Santa was bringing. I think it's just kind of fun to do little presents like that too. Santa never brought us big stuff. My mom explained to me much later on that there was no way a mythical being was getting credit for the big stuff! For a few years, we had cream of wheat for breakfast which is kind of funny because my dad HATES it and I had no idea for the longest time.

One year, my sister and I had the idea to do Santa for my parents. We had gone to an evening church service that Christmas Eve and when my parents were in their room getting ready for bed, we quietly snuck back out to the living room and set up their stockings. We put fruit in their stockings the same way they always did for us and had a little pile of small gifts and candy for each of them. I think this was about 10 years ago and my mom only recently stopped talking about it. She cried when she saw their filled stockings and then cried in the morning when we woke up and cried every time she talked about it that year.

My dad's father died when I was 13 and we missed him when we went to spend the day with my grandmother. When she died several years later, I suggested we start a brand new family tradition. I thought it would be easier if it was just something completely different. That's how my parents, sister, and I started going to the movies on Christmas Day. We'd go to one of the first showings and then pretty much go home after that but it was a really fantastic way to spend part of the day.

This year is going to be great too, but in kind of a different way. Christmas Eve will be with my parents, sister and her family. Christmas Day will be with Ki's mom and his sister and her family. Ki and I decided that we want to go to the movies on Christmas Day before we go to his mom's house. We're brand new at this married thing and want to have our own little family traditions. I bet one of the grandmas will take care of Baby C next year if we decide to go to a morning movie again. :)

It's a lot of fun to think about how we're going to be creating memories like these for our kid. I would like to have some intentional things we do every year during the holiday season but I am also looking forward to hearing what Adult C remembers most of all later on.

Friday, December 11, 2009

food

I love me some food. That is why I am so overweight. Not because I have a thyroid problem, not because I don't understand the difference between healthy and non-healthy food, not because I abhor exercise, but because I like to eat. I like how things taste, I like cooking, I like sitting down with people and eating, drinking, and being merry. Food is good.

The only thing I do not like is bell peppers. It's the only thing I won't eat or just pick out of something in order to eat the rest of the dish. I think I have a good reason though, it makes me burp and gives me wicked heartburn. Since I already have acid reflux, why add to it knowingly? Quite honestly, out of all the food I've eaten and still want to try, I think it's pretty good that bell peppers are the only thing on the absolutely not list. Sashimi is on the "yum, let's get some!" list for heaven's sake!

This round of Top Chef captivated me. In the past I have watched the show before, but mostly in marathon spurts courtesy of Bravo's typical weekend schedule. This season though, I watched every episode as it aired and rooted for people and was summarily amazed by every quickfire competition. Sometimes it takes me several hours just to decide what to cook so there's really no way I could plate a complete dish and come up with whatever it was I wanted to cook within 20-30 minutes. A lot of the competitors either have their own restaurants or are the head chef at a restaurant. Two of the chefs that I decided I most wanted to actually try their food sometime made it to the final four so that was awesome. What wasn't awesome though? The way the producers clearly had a huge hand in who made it to the final four and then who actually won. I am disappointed with how un-realistic reality tv has become. Maybe reality tv never was really accurate in the first place and I'm just tired of trying to pretend I don't notice anymore.

I want to be a fantastic cook. I don't think I'll ever be Top Chef material or anything, but I would love to be asked to bring things to gatherings because everyone knows what a great cook I am. I have a few things I make really well, but I would like to get an entire meal on the table on a regular basis that was healthy and balanced but freaking delicious and the timing was right on all of the dishes. I want to eat well without breaking the bank and I would like for me and my husband to have a healthier diet just overall. Maybe I can save my kids the struggles I've had with weight and being healthy by teaching them from the get go that healthy does not mean pain in the ass.

Luckily I have gained a very small amount of weight with my pregnancy so far. I'm really glad about this because if it continues this way I should be able to go back to normal clothes pretty quickly. And then I can go ahead and undertake the enormous goal of getting down to a healthy weight. As much as I think the extra ultrasounds are cool because we get to see Baby C every four weeks, this many doctor appointments is a lot for anyone's schedule. And since my high risk pregnancy diagnosis is because of high blood pressure and being overweight, I have a really good shot at the next pregnancy not being high risk. The cardiologist I saw when I was diagnosed with high blood pressure said he highly suspected losing roughly 100 pounds would make my blood pressure go back down to normal. I'm not going to get into why that conversation was a few years ago and nothing changed because it's not going to help anyone.

I'm due at the end of March, so I figure I can go to Weight Watchers May 1 and just go balls to the wall. I have all the concepts down, but I need the weekly check in and support. I need to hear how other people are doing and get advice from them. Making suggestions of my own for things that work for me will help too and I want the 10% key chain too. I think most importantly though, I want to learn how to cook in a way that my husband will gobble up and not realize it was a healthy meal. I don't want to trick Ki, I want to prove that it's possible to eat at home, eat healthy food, and be satisfied. Also, he has really great tshirts that I want to wear.

This time next year, I will be able to borrow Ki's clothes. He said it was okay.

christmas

Christmas is my favorite holiday. The time of year is fantastic because it's typically all nice and cold outside and I kind of like it when it's gray for awhile. People are a tiny bit friendlier to each other (outside of duking it out over last minute Christmas presents at the mall) and there's lights everywhere! I heart stars and twinkle lights are like stars exploded everywhere. It just makes me happy. I wish windows and trees could be outlined in lights every day and not just for a month or so every year.

I really love getting stuff for people. I haven't really done this in the past few years because I barely have enough money to get all the bills paid and whatnot, but just know that I seriously love giving people really good gifts. Or nice surprises. I have kind of lost touch with this side of myself over the past couple of years and it's something I am looking forward to attempting to regain. Not so much the money as the actually just doing nice things for people. I need to come out from the little cave I've carved for myself.

Well, Ki and I are broke. I'd like to take a moment to say it really bugs me when someone says they don't have any money and then goes out shopping or eats out at a really nice restaurant. I realize it's none of my business and I don't know if maybe it was a gift or some other circumstances. But for the record, when I say I don't have any money I have less than $50 in my bank account and probably need two or three times that to pay bills and buy groceries.

My parents are paying our December bills as our Christmas present. We aren't doing a gift exchange at all with Ki's family this year. I told my sister to not get us a present because we can't afford to reciprocate. My local friends are not flush with funds either so we mutually agreed to skip presents this year and my not local friends and I don't really send presents. Except T, she is constantly mailing me stuff she thinks will brighten my day in some way or another but it rarely has anything do with a particular holiday or anything. Ki and I also decided to not do presents for each other this year. We're going to go out and do something special in January maybe. We'll see.

I'm not upset about not receiving presents. I feel awful about not being able to get anything for anyone though.

I saw a psychiatrist a month or so ago. My OB suggested I find someone to touch base with now in case things get worse for me mentally in a few months or I experience post partum depression because that way I wouldn't have to give the whole background story when I desperately needed intervention. It was an okay visit and the biggest piece of advice I took away from it was to think of things that I used to do before I got pregnant that made me happy. Or just made me not sad. I've been able to incorporate a few of them back into my day to day life, like reading books and writing more.

But when I think to myself "Who is Melissa?", that element of giving and doing nice things for people really used to be at my very core. That's what I was known for and I liked it because it was genuinely great to me to be able to make someone else smile. It's just an extra big bummer that I am not in a position to try to bring that back to life right now in the height of the giving season. It's not just the money. It's time and energy too.

I should definitely be packing right now and not typing and the real reason I'm avoiding it is because it makes me so darn tired. Baby C is wiggling and doing flips and roundhouse kicks the whole time I'm trying to decide if we really need to take all of our DVDs to my parent's house or not. All that physical activity burns my own energy out even though it's not really me doing all that moving.

I better knock out a couple of boxes at least before Ki gets home.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

humpday happiness

Humpday is Wednesday because it's the middle of the week. I like to think of things making me happy at least once a week because I learned that song when I was a little kid called Count Your Blessings. For real it helps sometimes to just take a minute and realize everything is not the worst it could be. Anyway, don't expect a lot of context but feel free to ask if you're curious!

So this week's list of Humpday Happiness is as follows:

...my husband telling the baby for at least half an hour all the stuff he's going to do for him or her in the form of "Know who has two thumbs and is going to (fill in the blank)? This guy!"
...cold weather! I need to live in a place where this is only the beginning of the winter and not a freaky occurrence for a few weeks that has half the city's population grumpy.
...my hair finally growing! It's getting longer and it's ridiculously thick. I'm hoping that by the time the baby is born, it'll be long enough to pull it all back into a nice ponytail with no stragglers.
...having the same wedding band as my husband. It makes me smile every time I see "my" ring on his hand.
...a place to move to that will help us save money.
...text messages.
...my very wiggly little baby who clearly loves cranberry juice.
...reconnecting with people through Facebook.
...reading blogs.
...writing blogs.
...being able to find either Friends or Roseanne on tv almost every night.
...random phone conversations about nothing in particular.
...getting to see one of my first San Antonio friends again after a couple of years.
...the idea that you can build a bridge over troubled waters.
...jezebel.com
...feeling ridiculously comfortable in my own body, itchy stretch marks and all.
...making chocolate chip cookies made from scratch.
...eating chocolate chip cookies made from scratch.
...surprises in the mail.
...snuggling up in bed and reading a good book even if it's something I've read a hundred times already.
...forming a plan that gets me out of debt and a nice savings account all at the same time.
...Pepsi.

yes, it's another new blog from melissa

I started a blog to serve as a place for updates about me and Ki and also the baby, but I am having trouble finding a proper voice for it. I don't know if that makes sense outside of my own head, but what it ultimately means is I need another spot to post things and see what people think. Or maybe just post things and hopefully make someone else not feel so alone.

That's really what is at the crux of things for me these days. I'm pregnant, unemployed for all intents and purposes, have barely any energy at all for anything, and can't stop crying. Some of it is probably literal depression, some if it is lack of sleep, some of it is stress from money and some of it is me having no idea how to live up to my idea of what a wife and mother should be.

I positively KNOW I'm not the only one in the history of the world to be pregnant and it to not be very much fun. I've heard women complain about morning sickness, but I have not heard anyone talk about learning how to pee in a cup like a champ, out of control eyebrows, aching boobs, and the misery of trying to find a bra that will fit, be supportive, AND comfortable and then last for more than a month. Every time I see an ultrasound or even look at the pictures, it's all absolutely worth it. But it doesn't make it easier to find a sleeping position that both me and the baby like and also leaves room for my husband in the bed. It doesn't make the tears stop and as much as I love this little baby I would be really grateful if there was something to make my back stop hurting. It's not all awful. Feeling the baby move is pretty amazing and when I lay in bed next to Ki and he puts his hand on my belly and talks to the baby my heart feels like it's about to explode for lack of space to contain all the love I have for my family.

The whole job situation is rotten. I started working at this place at the beginning of summer. It's been kind of an interesting (not necessarily in a good way) set up from the very beginning. I basically like the job but the schedule is tough. It was all bearable until I got pregnant. This baby was a lovely surprise that promptly turned my world upside down. I know of pregnant women who work right up until the day they go into labor. This has not been my experience. Morning sickness isn't the right phrase to accurately describe throwing up every time you lift your head up from the pillow. I literally have a favorite bathroom in the work place to go to in order to throw up because it makes clean up and embarrassing accidents easy to avoid. I am so overemotional that one day I was sent home from work because I could not stop crying and also could not say why I had started or what I could do to make it stop. Since I've only worked there a matter of months, I am not covered under FMLA and absences have not been forgiven. Apparently it was either be put on leave or be fired but I'm still trying to get it all sorted out. Although I am glad to not have to go to work, we were barely making ends meet before.

So, Ki and I are moving into my parent's house. It's incredibly gracious and generous of them and I think it will be a set up that all of use finds to be just fine. They have a big house and the layout is really conducive to Ki and I keeping to ourselves if we want to. When the baby joins us, midnight feedings won't wake anyone but us because our rooms are literally on the other side of the house from my parent's bedroom. It's probably the ideal set up for the unideal situation. I don't think anyone really wants to move back in with their parents, but I'm really thankful we have the option and could take advantage of it before slipping into dire straits. We already have solid moving help confirmed and it's all going to be okay. I just feel a little like a failure as a wife and mother. I can't help but think we should be able to do this on our own.

The friends I've grown up with have done it on their own. I feel so far away from them now though. I thought getting married and having a baby would bring me back to their area, but I guess too many years have gone by. It's not a completely awful thing, but when you're in high school and you pledge to be friends forever no matter what and no matter where you are, it's kind of sad to realize that through the fault of no one in particular, it just hasn't panned out that way 11 years later.

So my plan is to finish up with the packing and get moved into my parent's house. I'll unpack our mini-household and then figure out exactly who I have to talk to in order to get everything sorted out at work. And maybe apply for unemployment if it's at all possible. Then it'll be getting things really set up for me and Ki to have a really solid amount in our savings account when we move out of my parent's house and to get us set up in good habits. We both need to eat better and generally take better care of our ourselves and I would like for us to have some things we just do as a family. Everything has happened so fast that we haven't taken the chance to think about some things we really want to be intentional about. I'm tired of floating along. Not that it's been bad, but especially with adding a kid to the mix I would like us to have certain things we just do. Like Meatless Mondays and regular trips to the library. And I would like to have a list of really kickass things I can cook. The kind of things that people taste and want the recipe but that at the same time we just eat regularly.

I need a break from the never ceasing stomping from upstairs and also from packing. I mean, outside of the break I've taken from packing to write this.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

...

We're getting married tomorrow! It's going to be a fantastic day that flies by in the blink of an eye. K and I are ready to just focus on each other and celebrate our love by promising we'll be together forever. We are so happy our families will be there as witnesses and also that we can all have an excellent meal together. It's just going to be great!

I'm starting a new blog in the next few days. I'll be emailing it out along with my new email address. If you have stumbled across this one and would like to keep up with us, just leave your email in the comments and I'll be sure to let you know the new URL.

WE'RE GETTING MARRIED!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

wedding question

So here is maybe a dumb question... Does everyone have some sort of family drama unfold as they are about to get married?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

feels like I'm born again...

Usually when KLOVE plays the crap out of a song, I roll my eyes nearly every time it comes on. However, the new one by Third Day is one I cannot get enough of. The harmonies that come in after the first verse are AMAZING and the whole song is just well written. It's constantly stuck in my head and not in a bad way at all. I do have to say that KLOVE needs more Need To Breathe though because I heard another of their songs on Air 1 (LOVE having the apps on my iPhone!) and it was truly fantastic as well. Man, I wish more Christian music just hit the spot like those two songs!

It was raining this evening. It was like a good California rain. Texas rain usually means the sky opens up and pours everything down and empties itself out in 20 minutes or less. Tonight, it rained steadily but not crazy hard, for several hours. I miss that. I love listening to the rain. I like it when the air cools down and you can crack open a window or even sit outside and just soak it all in. The smells, the sounds, the feeling... I have come to enjoy the thunder and lightening, but sometimes I still long for those days where it would just rain all day long.

Strangely when I find myself in a new situation, I also find myself missing Riverside. I think it's that I chose to live there and I got to know sections of it pretty well and when I'm faced with something especially challenging, I just want to be back where I knew everything. It's not accurate at all. If I had loved it so much, I wouldn't have picked up and moved as suddenly as I did. And I would be back there now instead of having lived here in San Antonio for closer to four years now than three. Occasionally I'll be frustrated and I'll think to myself that if I were in Riverside, I would go get some hot and sour soup from this place or I'd go claim a couch at that coffee shop and journal the night away or I could be in Newport Beach in an hour or less. I'll think about the smell of orange blossoms in the spring or the lack of humidity. But when it comes down to it, I'm glad I live in San Antonio.

I had a very rough day yesterday. I think I basically handled everything okay but it's left me a little rattled and for that reason I don't want to go into a lot of details. I am officially that lady who says "What's your name, I'm going to write a strongly worded letter!" but you know what, if it works it works! At the end of the day, the thing I wanted the most and just needed was to be with my family. Because I live in San Antonio, all it took was a quick phone call and a twenty minute drive. I got to be spoiled with a good dinner and laugh with my niece and nephew and have my mom and dad remind me that they love me very much. I'm 29, but there are times when I just want my mom...

Tonight, I went to K's mom's house for dinner. She showed me how to make one of my favorite dishes that K and his family had introduced to me. His two sisters and niece were all there and we had an amazing dinner and then talked for HOURS in the living room. We laughed so hard there were tears. And I told them about my day and suddenly realized that along with my lovely mother-in-law, I now have two big sisters and a fairly fearless niece. I don't have to do anything alone if I don't want to. I have this huge group of strong people who love me that I can call on for help and I know that someone will always come through.

Between my two evenings spent with family, I feel like I can relax. I don't have to be superwoman, I can draw on the strength of all these great people around me who love me and would kick anyone's ass that needed to be taught a lesson without hesitation.

I think I've finally learned to let K take care of me and be able to tell him what I need. He's amazing and I can't imagine putting together anyone else more perfect to go through the rest of my life with. I just hadn't stopped to acknowledge that he's not the only one. I forget sometimes that my parents would fight tirelessly given any cause involving me. My two soon to be sisters and niece were talking about different scenarios regarding protecting me or standing up for me and I really almost started crying because it was such a fantastic relief! I hadn't really thought about it, but of course I would absolutely do the same for any of them.

As much as I would like to live in a spot that didn't give me crazy allergies and maybe had four seasons or at the very least milder summers, I think I'll be staying in San Antonio for quite some time. I would be crazy to give up this proximity to my family. My sister will always be available for late night texting, but I wouldn't be able to get a hug on a regular basis if I was in a different time zone.

I am a girl who is full of joy and love because of my two amazing families. Who could ask for more?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

privacy

I know this is going to sound weird since I do have my own blog, but I would say I'm basically a private person. I will pretty much answer any question you have, but I don't necessarily volunteer all of my information to everyone. I've always been this way. It's been the root of countless fights with my mom. Her process is to talk to my grandmother and my aunt (her sister) about most everything and it drove me crazy as a pre-teen and beyond. I wasn't one of those girls dying for her period so when that day came and my grandmother ambushed me with a proud hug, I was mortified.

I have a blog because I have had such a random life that has taken me to so many places that it's easier to post updates about what I really want to share with whoever wants to read it and let them peruse my thoughts as they have time. Once upon a time I used to send out an email update. I suppose all of this is kind of egocentric, but somehow satisfying and seemingly wanted by at least a small group of people.

The other thing I know about myself is I don't really like it when people decide things for me. Sometimes it's okay, but I like to take part in the decision making. If K were to plan an evening out or a weekend trip, that would be fine. But if he were to tell me how I should get ready in the morning or decide how we were doing all of the holidays with our families without really talking to me about it, I wouldn't be very happy. I don't think it's that I need to be in control of everything all the time, but I like to take part in decision making. I am a strong woman and need my voice to be heard. If I'm deciding with a group of friends where we are going to eat and we don't go to my first choice, that's fine as long as I got to take part in the discussion. I hope this makes sense. And also that it's accurate. Heh.

I've been thinking about these things lately because I've noticed I've definitely entered a new phase in my life. When K and I decided to get married, I apparently opened a door to my life that somehow invites everyone and anyone to give me instructions on what to do, how to do it, and when it needs to be done. Some of it is actually helpful. I am learning how to accept nuggets and then decide whether they are nuggets of wisdom or just nuggets of words. It's hard sometimes. Just about everything is done with wedding plans and we are pretty much just crossing days off the calendar at this point. But this hasn't stopped anyone from interjecting their two cents.

This is very difficult for me when it's in situations like work. Friends and family who offer unsolicited advice often have my personality and wishes in mind and are genuinely trying to help. People from work barely know me and therefore have no clue what really would be fantastic to me or to me and my hubby to be. Expressions of mild disdain for such a quick and small wedding and not having a sparkly engagement ring just annoy me because they have no idea who I am at my core or how perfect September 18th will be for me and K.

I kind of figure this is only the beginning. K and I are entering into a phase where random people will helpfully decide when we should have kids and how we should raise them. I am so glad I'm moving into this along side K and that I'm 29. I can handle situations that are not pleasant to me with a lot more grace now than I could a few years ago. I'll always be learning and battling my instinct that I know what I'm doing and couldn't possibly glean anything from a person I barely know. Hopefully it will get easier.

I'll continue blogging... And don't shy away from telling me what you think, but understand if I try a different way sometimes that's just my own stubbornness shining through. I'm not to proud to admit that my way is not always the best way and I'll go through the catalog of my mind and pull out that piece of wisdom you shared. I just might not say anything about it right away. :)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

the munchkins and the baby

Today was a really lovely day with my family. K had to work so that was a bummer but he'll be around everyone again soon I'm sure. He really likes my family which is awesome because it definitely makes things pretty easy. I like his family very much as well. That's how I always pictured falling in love with someone... Building a relationship with them plus getting a bonus family to participate in and enjoy. I'm a very lucky girl to have stumbled upon it all.

Usually I refer to my sister's kids as "the babies" but since there is a brand new one, I felt like I needed a new nickname. I asked them if it was alright, so the kid approved terminology is that the two oldest are now "the munchkins" and the baby is "the baby." The munchkins and I had a terrific day of playing all sorts of games. I got to hold the baby for a little bit, but I didn't want to hog her, especially on Father's Day. She needed some Papa time.

We played outside on this tire swing my parents have and invented a new game that is probably terrifying to both my parents and my sister and brother-in-law. But there's a strict rule. If at any time they feel nervous or just need to stop, they just say "Auntie Auntie" and I step right in. We practice each time before it starts really going. See this swing was much higher above the ground until my parents saw my oldest niece "doing tricks" and realized if she were to fall she would most assuredly break something. It's a lot lower now but that means I can't push her as high up in the air as she would like to go. So instead, I twirl her around and around until the rope gets wound up pretty tightly and then give her a mighty push in the opposite direction and let the rope take over. My niece LOVES this. We must have done it 4 times in a row and then she hopped off and ran right up the porch stairs back inside to get water. Later my nephew wanted to try, and after one time around, I helped him get back on the ground where he promptly fell over from being so dizzy. I think that's more typical reaction to something like that.

Later, we played hide and seek. During spring break when I took care of them, we played and I stayed hidden until I heard one of them suggest I had gone outside and then I'd either sneak up behind them or burst out of my hiding spot to make sure everyone was in the same place at the same time. My niece hid first today. She ran into a room and slammed the door behind her. Then when I was still giving her some time (who knows, maybe she'd get under the bed or something...), it was apparently too much time because she kept opening the door to check to see if I was coming. When it was my turn to hide, I ran down the hallway and hid behind a door that was already slightly open. I heard the two kids running down the hallway looking for me, and they even came into the room where I was but didn't see me. They ran back down the hallway, and then when they came back again, I heard one of them say "Her is MAGIC." When they ran back into the living room, my dad told them which direction I had gone. By then I had snuck out to the edge of the hallway and just waited for their heads to poke around the corner and said "Boo!" as soon as they did. Much screaming happened and then even more laughter.

My niece has hands down the best laugh. She's very girly and tries to be as refined as a five year old girl can be sometimes. She prefers wearing her hair down and loves to show me her shoes and other things about her outfit. Her laugh is raucous and it makes me laugh every single time. It's this huge explosion from such a little girl and definitely not dainty or polished like she wants to be. I hope it never changes. It makes me laugh just thinking about hearing it.

I love playing with my nephew because he has a bit of hesitant nature when it comes to trying all the dare devil things my niece comes up with. We are definitely kindred spirits in that regard. I like to make sure he knows that he can have as much time as he wants to decide if he wants to try jumping off the steps or twirling around like a mad man in the swing. Plus that kid can relate any activity to something the Transformers would do and how can you not love that?

The baby is a teeny tiny baby that is completely adorable and I am thrilled to get to build this kind of relationship with at some point probably after she's able to hold her head up on her own. Or maybe even just keeps her eyes more open than closed. She wasn't even due to be born until next Sunday but she's just fantastic and even came with fingernails. Babies are completely amazing. I could hold her all day long and not get tired of it. Of course I'm not nursing her or being woken up at odd hours of the night. I'll still stick with my thinking that she is completely beautiful and I can't wait to play hide and seek with her too.

All in all, it was a truly great day. Now for some laundry folding and bed time!

Friday, June 19, 2009

mmm, popcorn

This week was pretty nice. K and I had four days off together and although we meant to do something fun and out of the ordinary like go to Fredricksburg for the day or just hang out downtown, we didn't. The closest we got was going to eat Japanese food at our favorite place.

Today I had to work an 8 hour shift and it seriously flew by. I don't know if that was because I felt like I had a vacation or because I'm used to the 13 hour shifts, or what. Oh and a coworker that caused a lot of problems was let go today and it was refreshing to know that my managers actually knew what was going on and were really doing something about. I don't have any personal problems with this particular coworker at all, it just basically came down to wishing there was someone that had more of a teamwork kind of ethic. I have no idea what this will mean for my work schedule, but I do know that even though things are never perfect at work, the 13 hour days will seem a lot shorter.

I think I was going to try to be more interesting, but my popcorn is done and I am really excited about getting in bed and watching my tape of Friends.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

makeup

My makeup was too good tonight to just be sitting at home, but alas, that's where I'm at.

It's not actually that big of a deal. K and I went out to dinner and I tried a new eyeshadow combination that I really liked. I tried to do a few different things but nothing really panned out. So I'm playing on Facebook and going to go check on my little patio garden in a little bit.

As I've gotten more into my Mary Kay stuff, the more I've enjoyed playing with makeup. I haven't ever really been into it because no one had ever really shown me how to do anything. I read everything I can get my hands on with Mary Kay and it has really helped me feel a lot more confident about color combinations and how to apply it in a flattering way. I am really excited about doing color consultations for people!

I know it sounds like a big ol' ad for myself, but really, I'm just trying to blog more and this is what happens to be on my mind at the moment.

K and I are so boring these days that although our favorite waitress at our favorite Japanese place wanted to stand and talk with us, we really had nothing to tell her about. Everything is pretty mundane around here... That's definitely not a bad thing, only when you're trying to catch up with someone and you both realize there are no big stories to share.

Eh, what're you gonna do? :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

i love me some pepsi

This week is so weird.

I worked on Sunday and don't go in again until Friday. I kind of don't know what to do with myself! I have been working on Mary Kay things which is cool and fun, but I'm at the point where I need NEW customers to help build my business. I have some ideas that I'll be working on in the next couple of days...

K is also off until Friday. Today he wasn't feeling well for part of the day. He kills me though because I always know when he's feeling better because he starts to get whiny. I poured his soda and got bland foods for him to eat and since he's out with some friends right now, I think he's made a full recovery. I'm glad when he gets sick it doesn't last for long and it's also pretty rare. No more chili dogs at 1:30 am!

I think we're going to try to go on a day trip someplace or even just hang out downtown for an afternoon. The biggest wrench in the plan at the moment is that it is so ridiculously hot! It's hot and sticky and gross outside. I think it's going to be a long summer... Hopefully both of my jobs will just keep me hopping and I won't have too much time to swelter.

At least I have cute sunglasses!

Monday, June 15, 2009

ugh

It is so hot.

San Antonio is not a bad place to live, but the summers are very icky. Hot AND humid means being outside is miserable. Getting into a car that's been sitting in the parking lot for a little bit is suffocating.

But it's still not a bad place to live. I always miss California the most in the summertime though.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

family family family

My sister has three kids now. That's kind of pleasantly insane to me. Auntie and Baby Z Days just got a lot more intense, but also cuter which I didn't really think was possible.

My latest niece was born on Tuesday night and she is adorable! She is about three weeks early and she is super tiny. But she came with fingernails and eyelashes and everything! I've heard from a few family members that she reminds them of me when I was first born. I had my mom take a picture of us face by face for comparison.

I adore my nieces and nephew and have tremendous fun doing things like baking cupcakes and knowing that after I hop them up on sugar they're just going home. I'm thrilled to think of things to do with three kids now. Well, in a few years anyway. In the meantime, I owe my nephew a trip to the movies and I think my oldest niece would like to go swimming or at the very least a long trip to some sort of playground.

The part where people seem kind of troubled by the fact the big things in my life right now are working in food service, building my Mary Kay business, and waiting for college acceptance for the fall and that's it is a little hard. The part where people feel the need to comfort me that I'm not the one having kids is a little hard. I'm okay with that.I am dating someone I love deeply and we are just not in a big rush for all the next steps ahead of us. We will get there and it will be beautiful and amazing. Maybe at some point I'll be in the hospital in labor and someone will message my sister and have no regard for what she's doing or where she's at and only ask questions about me. You never know. In the meantime, asking when it is I'm going to have kids or finally get married or whether or not it's weird that my younger sister has kids and I don't isn't really helpful.

I'm 28 and not where I thought I'd be when I was 28. But it's been a good journey to get to this point and for the most part I'm pretty happy. The other thing is that I have made all the decisions I've made up to this point only with the exact information I had at the time. Maybe if I knew then what I know now some choices would have been different, but I cannot apologize for that now nor can I go back and change anything. It doesn't make any sense for me to be hard on myself, only to keep my eyes open and use all the things I've learned to benefit me as I make decisions now.

So, since I have a few days off this week and my sister is alright with it, I'm going to go hang out with all three of the kids who made me an Auntie. I plan on marveling over the teeniest baby's delicate features and squeaks and grunts, watching Transformers and building cars and trucks out of legos and ridiculous numbers of wheels with my nephew, and dancing with my oldest niece and talking about princesses and whether or not she's old enough to buy her own pink sparkle lip gloss.

And taking pictures. Lots of pictures. :)

music

K decided sometime around January that we were going to see Coldplay when they came to town. He told me he wasn't telling me how much it was because I would try to talk him out of it and we deserved to do something fun and out of the ordinary (at least for us). He took care of getting the tickets and I marked the date on my calendar. When I recently got hired, one of the first things I did was make sure it was alright for me to have that day off so I could spend the whole day getting ready for and then enjoying Coldplay.

The first song I ever heard by them was "Yellow." It is such a lovely song and I was impressed by this band I'd never heard of before. I have every album, including that first one and have consistently listened to all of them. I loved when Starbucks decided to make them a featured artist and we could listen to at least the album XY while working.

Now, let me talk about seeing live music. Nothing else makes my heart come alive quite like seeing a live show. For some reason, I've forgotten this over the past couple of years and haven't been to many shows. But for awhile, I was going to every show I could figure out how to get myself to. I've seen big shows and little ones, bands I knew very well, and bands I never heard of but instantly became a devoted fan of. I've driven pretty good distances and I've gone down the street. I used to have a handful of friends that not only would happily accompany me, but would seek out artists and shows themselves.

My favorite band to see live for a long time has been Dave Matthews Band. They are phenomenal anyway, but live, there's an extra flair. They are thoroughly about the music and that is my number one qualifier for loving a band. I like how they play songs from their entire catalog and they put together songs that you would never think could segue into each other but do seamlessly somehow. They don't do big sets, they aren't showy, they aren't pretentious.

My second favorite show that I've ever been to was Jars of Clay at Spirit West Coast Del Mar the first year that festival showed up in Southern California. They sang their hearts out and debuted an album that had solid bluegrass roots and it was seriously amazing. My dad and I shivered as the sea breeze rolled in, but the music kept us warm enough to be enthralled and disappointed when the set was over.

And thirdly, The Benjamin Gate. This random Christian band that came out of South Africa with one of the most amazing sounds I've heard from ANY band. It is so refreshing to me to hear a Christian band that is also musically innovative because it is kind of rare. Jars of Clay fits in that category and that's one of the reasons why I love them. Anyway, the lead singer had bright orange hair, one of the guitar players had these insane sunglasses that wrapped over the top of his head, and the bass player was all over the stage which is highly unusual for a bass player. The music was fantastic and the band seemed so pleasantly surprised to have a crowd watching and to be enjoying seeing California for the first time. I refused to like Jeremy Camp for a long time because when he and the lead singer of The Benjamin Gate, Adrienne, got married, the band split up. Luckily for him, and me, she recorded a solo album a little bit ago. :)

I've seen concerts where the pyrotechnics and lights and set design seemed way more important than anything else. Or lead singers who really felt the audience should be worshipping them as they sang. Both of these things really annoy me. I'm a music snob. I want people who create music to be doing it for the love of the music, not the love of fame. Everyone should be so lucky to be able to earn money doing something they truly love. The best concerts are given by bands who love what they do, are good at it, and appreciate the audience being there. Anything else is gravy.

Let me tell you, Coldplay brought the gravy.

I really had no idea that a band could combine amazing light effects, fun sets, crazy stunts, AND amazing soul quenching music. They played songs from every album and really rocked out the stadium. This was the first time they'd been to San Antonio, and I do believe they'll be back.

"Yellow" was played as a fast song as giant yellow balloons filled with confetti were tossed through the audience. There were these things that looked kind of like giant lightbulbs that lowered at points and had art, words, or just live footage of the band on them. So cool! During the song "42", there was a live feed of the band that looked kind of like a music video or one of those behind the scenes kind of deals, but it was live feed. I never saw where the cameras where! That's impressive to me, because so often the cameras are obtrusive. Chris Martin played guitar and piano at different points and danced all over the stage.

There was a point where the band suddenly walked off the stage into the crowd. They were walking with a purpose and a specific location in mind but I was still surprised when they walked to a part of the ATT Center that already had instruments for them. There was just enough room for all four members to stand and sing/play guitar. The drummer sang a song, they did the band introductions, and led us in the first known cell phone wave at the AT&T Center.

Song after song... It was truly fantastic. Then at the end, they told us about the other two bands that had played and mentioned that on the way out, they had a little thank you note for us. We each got a cd! It was a recording of part of a show they did on this tour so it's kind of like a little piece of the show right in my truck right now.

And speaking of the other bands, let me tell you that Snow Patrol totally kicks ass. I've liked them for awhile, but I really enjoyed them live as well. And the first band was Howling Bells and they hail from Australia. Please do yourself a favor and check them out! You won't be disappointed. Especially if you like the aforementioned The Benjamin Gate. :)

Basically I feel lucky to have a boyfriend who brought live music back into my life in such a fantastic and over the top way. We had awesome seats and such a fabulous evening. I hope we can make live music a much bigger part of our date nights and whatnot. I have some ideas on how to do that... I'll try to keep you posted!

Friday, April 24, 2009

it's been awhile

I've been busy being very stressed by my job and the task of trying to find a new one discreetly while also going to school. That's the crux of it. Also, there's been a lot of things going on that I've been quite content to talk to K about rather than sort them out through writing. I think that's pretty cool and I'm glad we have such a relationship where I let all my crazy hang right out in the open, but it does kind of turn into a bummer for those who are staying on top of my life by reading my blog.

I have quit the one job and have a job offer someplace else which I am very excited about. Today I baby-sat for a dear friend and I have to say that I love little babies. I wasn't always this woman who enjoyed the little tiny ones. I got bogged down in not really knowing what to do with them. My sister having babies was what mostly broke me of that. And I learned some important things like when they are that little, they pretty much have to scream their heads off for a portion of the day in order to increase lung capacity and just holding a baby and talking to them about whatever pops into your head is simply fantastic. I love that sweet baby smell and little hands wrapping themselves around my fingers. And yes, I do want babies of my own. I have for awhile but there is no sense in rushing things. I figure, quite frankly, that I will just spend most of my 30s pregnant and that plan seems pretty great to me. I hope K and I have babies with full heads of crazy curls. And maybe just one of them can have some of the lighter hair because I know my mom would really love just one grandbaby with blonde hair and blue eyes. :)

K and I are in a very good spot. So good in fact that it seems to make people around us desperate for a wedding date. I just say that we'll set that as soon as he asks me to marry him and in the meantime we're happy. We'll get there. Who knows what it will look like, but I imagine there will be a portion of it that basically everyone we know is invited to and it will be absolutely beautiful.

Very recently, K's mom and I have been spending time together that is mostly just the two of us. One evening we drank beers and cooked up a bunch of treats and more recently we went out to dinner together. I don't know how or when exactly it happened, but it's like we have the roles of mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. I genuinely love her and it seems the feeling is mutual and it's just really nice. I always imagined falling in love and essentially multiplying my family by two by adding his to it. I've watched people around me have those kind of results and also not have exactly those kind of results and I'm happy that I feel like I'm a part of the family he grew up with and that they seem to enjoy that as well.

In other news, Mary Kay is going really well for me. I expected to make a little extra money and mostly just get to have a discount. That has been typical of a lot of jobs I've had. :) I wasn't expecting to have so much fun and completely enjoy doing facials and skin care classes for women. It's been fantastic to meet new ladies and hear how they approach their businesses. I didn't realize it would be so easy for me to grow and expand. I wish I had some money that I could buy inventory with and really keep things on hand, but I figure that will come with a little more time. I get a little extra almost each order to build that up slowly. The other night I was sitting waiting for someone and I got a phone call asking to be able to place an order. Not only was I happy to do that, I realized I had everything she wanted at home and I loved being able to take it to her right that night. I opened up my little California branch with some family and am on target to gain the ability to have the company mail orders directly to people at the end of the quarter. I have a bunch of samples and would be more than happy to share them with you if you're interested! And let me tell you, K has started using a few things and likes them so much he told me that I could tell whoever I wanted to tell because maybe that way they'll give them a try as well.

School is good! I'm right at the end of the semester. I've applied to go to UTSA in the fall and am excited about that prospect. I'm plugging along on my path and I will get there at some point. It'll be a very sweet celebration when I do graduate. My aim is for a Bachelor degree in Psychology and a teaching certificate so I can teach while I get a Masters in Psychology and then either becoming a counselor or teach at the college level. There are going to be a lot of twists and turns in the road but I figure by choosing this particular path, I've set myself up for several different kinds of success. In the meantime, I think this new job will serve me well and my Mary Kay business will continue to grow.

And finally, for now at least, do you guys know about pandora.com? Maybe one of the coolest web sites ever if not just the best. That and Google Reader are my two favorite Internet inventions I think. You put in an artist or song you like and it creates a radio station for you of a bunch of music similar to what you've chosen. You can put in twenty artists or just one and I promise you will be delighted. I have loved hearing what comes up and have discovered new (to me) music and feel like I'm part of the music scene again. Check it out!

Monday, March 23, 2009

25 things. Again

1. I ate a lot of vegetables last week and I felt the effects within a matter of days. Good ones I mean. I just FEEL better.
2. The little cans of V8 juice are the way to go. You can chug it (only if it's cold, think of it like beer--no way am I drinking either one warm) and then casually drink a giant glass of water and be good to go. The soda can size of V8 will make you feel gross and then you'll feel bloated after the glass of water.
3. People in Texas like to power wash things. Sidewalks, roofs, cars, whatever.
4. Bart's fish fry events somehow induce the best conversations, a very small percentage of which are appropriate to then relate to your mom the next day.
5. I think I might delete my MySpace and just go with Facebook.
6. The thing keeping me from deleting my MySpace is the ease with which I can find new music.
7. I need some more candles for the apartment.
8. Tomorrow I am going to see the Spurs play and hopefully narrow down my choice for favorite player.
9. Sunday nights I cannot fall asleep at a decent hour. Ever.
10. My bedroom is always my favorite place to be wherever I live.
11. I can read blogs all day on my computer or sit and type for hours at a time, but forget about watching a tv show or playing with You Tube. I lose interest after about five minutes.
12. It's been a good year since Starbucks discontinued almond syrup and I still haven't found a proper replacement as my favorite drink.
13. I don't like being one of those people who gets the same drink (coffee or alcoholic) every time.
14. Even so, my adult beverage of choice usually involves vodka and my jags of getting the same thing can run for a good amount of time.
15. I need a job. I don't know where to look any more. I know something is out there, but this is a very frustrating process.
16. I would really like to write a book some day, about my life.
17. K, his sister, and I are seeing Coldplay in June!
18. There is currently a big pot of chicken on the stove so I can make some chicken and dumplings before it gets too hot around here to even want to eat it.
19. My next cooking adventure involves tofu. I want to cook it in some tasty manner to add to a salad.
20. I'm growing out my hair.
21. My sister's kids are not good at taking naps. There is just way too much stuff they NEED to do.
22. I love my cell phone.
23. Rearranging your living room can make a huge difference.
24. K gives very sweet back rubs.
25. It has been way too long since my last bubble bath.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

nephew break

And for a break from the serious:

My nephew went into my sister's room last night saying he couldn't sleep because Jesus was talking too much. She sent him back to bed and when he crawled back into bed, she heard his prayer bear say "Now I lay me down to sleep..." He threw his hands in the air and said "SEE?!" Jesus kept talking to him because he kept rolling over onto the prayer bear. My sister moved the bear to the dresser so all should be okay.

Little kid logic and explanations are the best, especially when you let them tell you the entire story and answer all your questions.

health, weight, exercise, blechh

Well, I feel strangely accomplished tonight. I went to the grocery store instead of driving thru someplace and ended up with a really fantastic salad. The dark green and red lettuce mix, baby shrimp, green apples, avocado, dried cranberries, and balsamic vinegarette I have some food for tomorrow which is nice and a variety of V8 products. I'm starting a new diet that focuses on grains, fruits, and vegetables. It will be an adjustment as quite frankly I just like stuff that's fried and otherwise high caloric, but I really need to do this.

I feel like I've posted entries like this before where I talk about all the reasons why I need to eat better, exercise more, and lose weight and then I say this time is for real. So let me just say that this time I feel a lot more determined than the last time I started Weight Watchers and I am more focused on making more permanent changes to my diet and exercise habits.

So, I'm rearranging my living room and dining room. I'm basically flipping it. The little nook by the kitchen where you put your kitchen table is going to have the tv and futon and maybe a book shelf. The bigger part, the living room, is going to have the desk, the kitchen table, and the big huge book shelves that are already in there because I would like to avoid moving those if I can. But the ultimate goal is to have more room to put an exercise dvd in and be able to actually move around. I think the side bonus is going to be taking some time to really put stuff in places it can actually belong. My living room has been a mess lately because there's a lot of little things that just get put here and there because it just happens to fit there for the time being. I would like to have more defined spots for stuff.

The other side affect, hopefully, will be an apartment that is once again easy to invite people over to at a moment's notice. I think just sitting and watching tv will be a little more comfortable since there is now a ceiling fan above the futon so that will be nice this summer. But since the main part of the non-bedroom part of the apartment will be all nice and open, that will encourage me to take advantage of that rather than flopping on the couch.

I'm concerned about my blood pressure and cholesterol. Quite honestly, I am also concerned about how I look. Last weekend my mom really graciously bought me some new clothes and they are really cute and perfect for job interviews or doing Mary Kay parties or anything else I need to look professional and all put together for. The way it used to be, I'd buy clothes that had bigger sizes than I wanted to admit I needed to wear but I'd look in the mirror and think I was doing pretty good with what I had. These clothes are fantastic, but when I look in the mirror, now I honestly just see a fat girl with really cute clothes. I would like to look in the mirror and see cute clothes and a girl who is healthy. I can't see my blood pressure or cholesterol, but by making the changes with this diet (it's called the DASH diet and it's really reasonable and not some kind of fad thing--Weight Watchers is awesome but I just can't afford it right now for the record) I know they will be in much better shape.

So that's where I'm at this week. Might as well be doing something productive while I'm waiting to hear back on the kajillion job applications I've turned in. :)