28 April 2010

Sometimes I'm Awed By My Best Friend

Kasey may not think she's all that and a bag of potato chips, but I know different. Not only is she all that...she is the entire potato chip aisle (complete with the little dip tray display things hanging below). Proof? Read this post that she just wrote about one of her students trying to cope with her mom's recent miscarriage.

Yeah, now tell me it isn't true.

27 April 2010

Ten Things Tuesday

Ten Things That Made Me Smile This Past Week:
1. The weather, which is finally warm and sunny enough for me to embark on my most favorite of summertime chores: hanging the laundry outside to dry!
2. My fabulous husband, who woke me up this morning with a box of croissants and a bouquet of flowers.
3. I had some wonderful girl chat with Natalie this afternoon
4. The day of grilling we had on Saturday (see post below)
5. The way that Tillamook stood with his paws up on the windowsill next to the front door and meowed at me the entire time I was hanging up laundry today, as if to say, "The CLOTHES get to go outside and I can't?"
6. Bean kicking the entire way through dinner on Sunday night
7. Our prenatal appointment on Wednesday, in which I got to hear (via the spiffy Doppler thing) Bean kicking away AND its heartbeat again (148 bpm and going strong!)
8. Finally getting my box of stuff from my trip to Maryland and therefore the Ikea grater-tupperware combos that I found for $2.99. You've got to love innovative Swedish design at reasonable prices!
9. Taking a walk with Christine around Twin Lakes on Friday
10. The message thread that Vannae (a friend from college) and I have been composing on Facebook regarding the trials, tribulations, and treasures of being pregnant. It's so nice to have another pregnant friend to talk to!

25 April 2010

Some Steak, Some Sunshine, Some Sewing

Yesterday was quite possibly the best Saturday on record. I woke up when Kip came to bed around eight (in the morning...he's on night-shift, remember?) and realized that it was an absolutely glorious day: 52 degrees, sunny, a slight breeze, barely any clouds. The kind of day where I'd have liked nothing more than to ride my bike down to the local farmers' market and pick out some produce for the day before grabbing an apple cider on the way home and hanging some laundry out to dry in the sun. Unfortunately, we have no farmers' market (as there are no farmers for about 1,000 miles) nor do we have any apple cider, and it was a bit too chilly to hang the laundry out--but 52 degrees and sunny is heaven for Juneau, and we took full advantage of it!

In the morning, I took turns sewing and crocheting while sitting in the sunshine on the couch and laughing at Tillamook, who is also so unused to the sun shining that he spent a good part of the day either a) napping in it, b) napping inside the frame of the couch to get away from the brightness of it all, or c) chasing around the sunbeams that had landed on the wood floor, chattering at them as if they were actual prey. After Kip woke up in the afternoon, he stood for a long time, staring out of the window with a dreamy look in his eyes. He smiled, shook his head, and went outside to check the mail. When he came back, he had the same look on his face.
"What?" I asked, knowing full well what was coming next.
"Oh, nothing", he responded, glancing out the window again. "I just wish I had a grill."

If I had a dime for the number of times my husband has told me that a charcoal grill is simultaneously the smell of his childhood and the mark of a true man, I would have my student loans paid off. It's endearing, and luckily this year, I am prepared. His birthday is in two weeks, and while he was at work a few days ago, I went to the Home Depot and bought a small Weber charcoal grill--the type that's only about two feet tall and therefore perfect for apartment renters. I just had to keep it from him for 14 more days and, in the meantime, try to handle the multiple hints (amount to date: 3) of wanting nothing more or less than a charcoal grill for his birthday.

"Well," I responded, trying my best to keep a straight face, "we have some steak in the fridge, you could cook it on the George Foreman grill."
He looked at me as if I'd just suggested having a nice brunch of quiche and mimosas. Apparently the George Foreman is the girl's equivalent to a charcoal grill and my suggestion was the man's version of heresy.
"No, it's just not the same" he said, glancing out the window again.
I couldn't take his puppy eyes anymore. I sighed and walked over to him. "I love you," I said and gave him a kiss, "And you have to ruin every birthday surprise, don't you?"
He cocked his head, "Huh?"
"Hold on a sec" I ran downstairs to our landlords, who had been hiding the grill in question for me, and (after a brief search) came back up the stairs, grill in hand, singing "Happy Two-Weeks-Early Birthday to You".

It was as if Christmas had come early to Juneau. He attacked the box with child-like enthusiasm, putting the grill together in record time (I should have timed it and compared it to how long it will take us to put together our baby crib). We walked to the grocery store to pick up some grill-type foods (corn on the cob that I should have known would be a bit mealy since it was frozen, some fabulous baked beans), and a giant bag of charcoal. After we got back to the apartment, Kip set to work creating a perfectly heated grill while I washed some dishes and made a cheesecake with our Magic Bullet (seriously the best invention ever). Our summer time dinner was delicious, and we ate on the couch while we watched "The Patriot" and the breeze blew through the open windows in the kitchen, making the curtains dance in the air (which tortured/amused Tillamook to no end). It felt like the Fourth of July, just two months early.

And it was magnificent.

23 April 2010

Friday Photo Shoot-Out: Trees

I'M BACK! Before showing my chosen pictures on this week's theme, Trees (selected by good bloggy friend GingerV from Brasil), I will attempt to update all you good fellow Friday Shoot-Out-ers as to why I took an unannounced break from the group in five bullet points or less:
1. I'm pregnant! Surprise!
2. I had been working a full time job
3. Working a full time job while pregnant leaves absolutely no time for anything else
4. I missed you all (and shooting every week)!
5. I still haven't fixed the memory problem on my computer so I can upload new photos, but I promise to do that this weekend :)

For you non-Friday-Photo-Shoot-Out-ers, the My Town Friday Photo Shoot-Out is a project that was created to get bloggers out into their communities and showing them off to each other. We take turns picking themes for the week, all shoot photos on that theme, and then post them on Friday. It's a great way to get to know your own community, as well as have an instant vacation to locations all around the world! For more information, click the "I'm With the Gang" icon on my sidebar.

Juneau has pretty much the coolest trees ever
(and I know trees--I lived in New England for most of my life):

We have frosted Evergreens in the winter

And sunny deciduous ones in the Fall

The stately Sitka Spruce is our state tree!

The entire state pretty much smells like an air freshener because of them

And even way up here, moss still grows on the Northern side
(although, really, how much more North could you get?)

See you next week!

22 April 2010

Adventures in Pregnancy: Nesting

In the approximately 17 weeks and 4 days that I have been with child, I have decided that, if one were to turn the time of pregnancy into a Broadway production, it would be entitled
"Hormones!: A Revue"
I imagine it to include lots of flashing lights, dancing food, and a kick line of Rockettes with runny mascara from an impromptu crying fit.

Seriously, I have laughed and cried and craved and been completely brain dead and peed and cleaned more in the past four months than the entire 23 years preceding them. And sometime in the past two weeks, all those nesting hormones that people talk about have jumped into the conga line, flooding my brain with thoughts of reorganization and sewing and dusting and generally any sort of linen that belongs in a house. Given, these aren't particularly unusual themes for me to be thinking about, but it's gone into overdrive the past fortnight or so.

Example: While sitting on the couch tonight, propped up by the pillows that I just re-covered, crocheting a stuffed animal, and watching the John Adams HBO miniseries with Kip for the fourth time (if you haven't seen it, you really need to), I looked down at the new area rug that I bought in a fit of nesting activity exactly three days ago and decided that it already looks dirty and wondered how much a steam cleaner would cost. Bad ideas all around, at least where large and expensive cleaning equipment in a teeny tiny apartment is concerned.

On the bright side, though, there are now several aspects of our apartment that make me smile every time I see them:
-The jar of beer bottle caps that I've been collecting for the past six or seven months that is sitting on our counter. I have big craft plans for them, and I almost have enough to start!
-The aforementioned pillows that I sewed new covers for last night, as well as the aforementioned new area rug. Together, they make the living room look way brighter and way bigger than it used to.
-The fact that we propped up our old closet doors in front of our bedroom windows to keep out the light now that Kip is on night shift. It's functional and free!
-The curtains that now hang in place of the old closet doors (which never worked to begin with)
-Our new, more colorful shower curtain. It has leaves all over it, and every time I take a shower, I feel like I'm in a jungle adventure. It's exciting.

And that's not all, tomorrow I have big plans to hem the new curtains covering the closet, find a frame for the piece of art I just bought (more on that later), wash every surface the cat stepped on last night (also, more on that later), and craft for the rest of the day. Enter the dancing fruit!

21 April 2010

But I Don't Want to Look Like a Triangle!

I thought that once I announced our pregnancy to the Internet, it'd be all I could blog about. That was the reason I had been blogging with increasing infrequency, after all--I didn't think I had anything else to reflect on. But now that we're over four months into Mommy- and Daddy-to-be-Land, the surge of emotions has passed (mostly), replaced by the numbing feeling of Reality slapping us in the face.
With a dirty diaper.

Are you going to give birth in a water tub? You're not planning on using a second-hand anything, are you, because you know they're incredibly unsafe? You're not planning on buying anything new and having it shipped to Juneau, right, because you can find everything you need at yard sales, you know? Why did you quit work so early? You are going back to work after the baby is born, aren't you? Were you "trying" or was it an accident? Are you banking your cord blood? What are you going to name your child? Are you sure it's not twins? Don't you miss having your family around? Have you looked at new apartments, because don't you think yours is too small?

On top of the eekiness that I've always associated with the term "trying to get pregnant", the questions that well meaning, but mostly anxiety-inducing friends, acquaintances, and all-out strangers have been asking us have started to drive me mad. Because it's not like I didn't already have a long list of questions going through my mind, for example: Why do most maternity clothes insist on making women look like a walking triangle?; Will I contract toxoplasmosis by simply looking at my cat?; How can you tell the difference between the baby kicking and just gas?; and What the crap is a phalate and why on earth do I need to keep it as far away from my child as possible? Alas, with great fertility comes a great amount of intrusive questions, and my Adventures in Pregnancy have started.

Get ready, blogosphere, I'm finally ready to write about it.

20 April 2010

Ten Things Tuesday: Resurrected

I know that with work and travel and doing said things while pregnant, I have fallen off the bandwagon with my Ten Things Tuesday and My Town Friday Photo Shoot-Out, but this is the week of recompense! I am getting back on the wagon! And I am starting with...

The Ten Things That Have Made Me Smile This Past Week (plus extras since I haven't done this in ages):
1. The fact that it's quiet enough in Juneau that I can hear the church bells downtown ring out the hour. I never noticed that while I was working!
2. Nesting instincts kicking in full-force, which has resulted in....
3. A new area rug. It's lighter and cushier and generally more homey. I love it! It also goes nicely with...
4. The new pillows I am in the process of sewing. Mom and I went on an Ikea spree during my visit, and the fabric for the pillows was the highlight of the trip. (Lowlight: apparently the baby isn't a huge fan of Swedish meatballs, which makes me really sad because I love them and I hope he/she learns to as well)
5. Remembering to take my prenatal vitamins last night. I did something right!
6. Tillamook. He's just hilarious.
7. An email today from Kasey, just being the best friend ever.
8. An email today from Paige, who I went through Confirmation class with, and who lives about a quarter of a mile away, inviting me to have a decaf latte with her at her house on Wednesday. I haven't had a latte in ages, but the way she described how she's mastered the art of home brewing made me really want one!
9. An email from Heather, in which we discussed the details of graduation, pregnancy, and her upcoming visit in July
10. Going through said email inbox and deleting superfluous and old emails. I even enjoy cleaning in digital form.
11. My entire visit in Maryland--Alli is the cutest little baby I've ever seen, and having an extra week with my mom was great.
12. Finding a Juneau photo contest being held this month.
13. Getting my first ever publishing paycheck in the mail for the Zondervan dictionary!!!!!!!!!!!
14. The strawberries that are arriving in our CSA produce box

17 April 2010

Our Apartment Is a Party Animal

Kip and I just returned from a week (or two) in the Lower 48 for our niece's baptism (post and photos later since I now have my camera back from its exile down South!), and we discovered something terrifying when we got back:

Our apartment.

I think in the time that we were gone, it threw a party. Or got really depressed and didn't take care of itself. We were sure we'd left it at least somewhat clean when we left--we did some dishes, swept the floor, made sure there wasn't stuff everywhere--but when we came back, it was an absolute mess. It was so bad that we stayed up until 12:30 last night cleaning the most desolate parts so as to not wake up to a nightmare this morning. So today, on my first day back in Alaska without the chains of employment, will be a day spent at home in an extreme fervor of nesting.

(And I'm really jazzed about it!)

06 April 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

It's 9:16pm, I just got home from my last day of work (HALLELUJAH! I will post on this decision later), and I'm not ready for my birthday to be over yet. Since Kip is working night shift and I am therefore alone, I have decided to put on my comfy clothes, grab some of the strawberry trifle I made for Easter yesterday, slap on a face mask, and watch Harry Potter while continuously shooing Tillamook away from my birthday flowers.

And, I will blog about my birthday.

And, I choose to blog about my birthday in my favorite type of writing: a list.

Highlights of my 23rd Birthday:
-It was sunny today!
-Kip woke me up around midnight to give me my birthday presents and what is perhaps the most perfect birthday card ever to grace an envelope
-Two customers sang "Happy Birthday" to me at the store, and Katrina made me a yummy pound cake.
-It was my last day working at the bookstore, and I got the aforementioned cake on it. Seriously, who gets cake on their last day when they're just quitting and not retiring? NOBODY! (Except me, apparently)
-Having a beautiful vase of flowers delivered to me from my brother- and sister-in-law! It made the back room at work smell like heaven, what with the flowers and the pound cake and the sweet smell of impending freedom.
-Since Kip was sleeping through the day to prepare for switching to night shift today, I spent the better part of the morning sitting in the sunlight reading Cardinal Avery Dulles' collection of lectures on Church and Society (aptly titled "Church and Society") while Tillamook took a nap on top of the couch. It was a way to spend my morning that just felt so very true to who I am. And if you're going to feel true to who you are, your birthday is really the day to do it, eh?
-I got pulled over while driving home. On my birthday. By my husband, who just wanted to say "Happy Birthday" one more time. Isn't he great?
-My favorite part of today was actually something quite mundane, something which probably happened 23 years ago although at that time, it would have been rather more one-sided: I had a really great conversation with my dad over my lunch break. We didn't talk about anything earth-shattering or hugely important, we just chatted. And it was really nice.

Now I have two hours and fifteen minutes left--just enough time for Harry Potter.

04 April 2010

Christ Is Risen! Christos Anesti! Happy Easter!

"The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!" Lk 24:34

"The meaning of Easter can no longer be simply: 'There is a life after death.' This dualistic dichotomy between temporal and eternal life destroys the dynamic presence of the future in the present which is characteristic of the early Christian message.... Easter must mean that life has already changed, that the process of liberation from sin and death has already begun. Jesus' resurrection was not simply life after death; it was and is life that comes from death and through death. 'We know that Christ, once raised from the dead, is never to die again; he is no longer under the dominion of death' (Rom 6:9)." -S. Brown

My Friends:
Have a most blessed Easter!
Rejoice in His glory!
Find hope in the Resurrection!
And know that today, we are celebrating God's faithfulness---for He came down to be with humanity for a short time so that humanity could be with Him for eternity!
Christos Anesti!

02 April 2010

The Secret to a Happy Marriage, Seriously

236 days into life together, Kip and I have found the secret to a truly happy marriage, and it is:

three blankets

I can't believe we didn't think of this before.

We realized this truth the night Kip woke me up shivering. After giving him all of the available blanketage (which included one sheet, an electric blanket that doesn't actually work but still provides warmth out of sheer mass, and a throw blanket), I trekked out to the giant basket of blankets and quilts that we keep in the living room, grabbed a few for myself, and thus reached nirvana. The next morning, there was no half-playful, half-serious blanket-tugging; no cold feet ruining what would otherwise have been a pleasant morning. Oh no, my friends, the birds were singing, the sun was shining, and it seemed Albert Einstein himself looked down from above and declared, "Genius! If only Mrs. Einstein and I had thought of that!"

Since our stroke of insight a few days ago, we have started spending an inordinate amount of time in bed among our three blankets: one to share, and one for each of us to hog. (Technically, I should say four blankets, since we also keep one folded at the foot of the bed just in case our needs expand.) I think it says something about individual versus corporate identity in marriage. Or maybe just how cold our bedroom is. So there you go, married bloggers of the blogosphere: three blankets. You're welcome.