young at art

Friday, December 31, 2010

Week 1 of Dahlia's Life Recap

This is my attempt to log while being a new mommy. I will warn you, it is basically going to be a lot of me bragging about how wonderful this entire last week has been. Dahlia is healthy and lovely and sweet. She nurses like a champ, now that my milk is finally in, and has inherited her Daddy's super-snuggle ability.

So far we can tell that she has my dimples, Jeremiah's nose, and my dad's feet. Her Yaya is holding out for hazel eyes, which would be pretty neat since no one in the family has them except my mom.

Jeremiah is a natural at this daddy thing. He makes up stories and songs for her. He helps me and brags to everyone he knows. He works all day and still pays attention to us when he gets home. We love him so much!

My mom and sister have been such a help. Mama came to stay with us for the first two days Dahlia was home. Man that first night was tricky! Casey cleaned my kitchen yesterday and made filling for burritos, and drove me around to run errands, and gave Fosty some much needed love.

Fosty has been such a good good boy. He has been minding and not jumping up. We both feel guilty for not being able to give him more attention. Up to this point he has been our only "baby" and it is a big change for him.

Some AMAZING Washington parents have brought us dinner/scheduled a day to bring us dinner. Thank you so much the the Kings, Fowlers, and Billingsleys. If you know a new mommy, this is the absolute best thing you could ever do to help ease the transition back home. These families have taken the time out of their busy lives to cook for us. We are so lucky!

We are thankful for Jessica! She is so easy to talk to and is always ready with some advice, a funny story, or a sleepy wrap.

All of our friends have been wonderful. We appreciate all of the warm wishes, visits, and favors.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

This Is It

Here we are. It is December 22nd at 8:18pm. We are supposed to go to the hospital at midnight to actually have a baby. My mom is on her way to the house right now. Hospital bag packed. House clean. Tile almost done. Nursery finished. Foster oblivious. Christmas presents wrapped. Stockings hung (thanks to Jeremiah!). I have that "I left my flat iron on" feeling. What is it?!

**I just found out what my feeling was...the hospital just called at 8:32pm. They said my induction has been pushed back to 6:30am. Now I am all riled up. But, I was hoping to not have to stay tonight, so maybe this is a blessing.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lovin' that Man

Just wanted to take a little sec to say that even though Jeremiah works like 80 hours a week (this is an estimate, not an exaggeration) slinging Bahn Mi sandwiches and yummy noodle salads, he took the time to make me laugh a lot tonight AND tape around the top of the nursery so I can paint. I will add that he does not think we need to paint, but he did it anyway, on one of his only nights off.

Plus, look how cute he is on our maternity pictures. Pictures he didn't even complain about taking. (I think he secretly liked it!Shhhhh, don't tell.)

I love him SO much!

In my mom's words, "Watch out parenthood, here they come!"

Lots of Love, 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Week 35 is Already Here?!

So, I went to the doctor today, and I realized when I was scheduling my final appointments that I am so far along in this pregnancy that I am actually close to my final appointments! Ah! How did this happen so fast? I have had a dream pregnancy so far, and I am so thankful for that. My pregnancy has been so easy, that it has flown by and now if I am being honest, I don't want it to be over!

Don't get me wrong. I cannot wait to hold this precious little human in my arms and give her all of the love that I have. It's just that, I kinda have this pregnancy thing down.

So, here is what I plan to do. I am going to make the most of these last few weeks of growing an actual person. And then, I am going to make the most of the actual delivery. And then, I am gonna go crazy on being a mom. Absolutely overboard! I am going to squeeze out every little tiny bit of this entire experience. Because if I have learned anything this crazy year, it is that life is too short to do anything halfway. You never know what can happen people, so go crazy while you can.

Lots of Love to you All!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Motherhood Preparation to the EXTREME: *Warning: Potty Humor*

In the past several months I have had a lot to think about. Becoming a mommy is hard mental work. Will I use disposable diapers or cloth? How will I manage nursing when I return to work?  Who will be my long-term sub during maternity leave? Daycare options? Whether to include the "h" in spelling my daughter's name? Registries, showers, maternity pictures, and on and on. I don't actually have the baby in my arms yet and have made so many decisions. I could really take all of this to the extreme, like I do many other aspects of my life, if I am being honest...

Meanwhile: While I was in the first few weeks of pregnancy, I caught a re-run of Oprah, or I may have been watching a backlog of DVRed episodes. Any-who, it was all about the perils of motherhood. Women were talking about the pressure and the ca-razy things they have done as mommies that they would never have thought of doing as "regular" people. One woman recounted a story of peeing in a diaper in her car to avoid getting the sleeping baby out of the vehicle so she could do her business. Several of the other moms agreed to similar offenses in the name of not waking/moving their baby who just fell asleep/never takes a nap.

Obviously I was intrigued. In the past few months I asked my "mommy friends" if they had been through a similar experience. You won't be surprised to know that, yes, indeed they had. If they hadn't actually been in a diaper in the mini-van scenario, they had thought about it long and hard before unbuckling that car seat and enduring a cranky baby/toddler. I won't name any names, but one pal said she had used her own backyard while watching her car from the side-gate! I am giggling hysterically right now, just like when she told me about her shenanigans.

As I write this, I know that many of you have a story to share. You are thinking something along this lines: "Oh Brandi, just you wait. You will get your comeuppance for laughing at your friends and writing about secret mommy behavior. I thought the same things before I had kiddos. I can't wait to say I told you so!"

In response, I would like to share with you a plan I have concocted to safeguard myself from ever needing to hide a Big Gulp cup under the seat. (Yes, based in fact, people!) I just heard about a product, available to all of America the Beautiful's busy mommies. The Stadium Gal, and it's male counterpoint, the Stadium Pal, in case any daddies also have a restroom emergency, has been on the scene since 1998. The "SG" is marketed to sporting event attendees. The idea is that you have your own personal urinal attached to your calf, discretely hidden under your pants. Avoid the restroom line, but DO NOT try to wear it with shorts! I won't go into any more detail.... Doesn't this seem like it could be of use to the busy mom crowd?

Back to all of the decisions. This one is such a no brainer. For $34.95, I can avoid your taunts of "I told you so." I am trading them in for a bag o' pee though.

**disclaimer: I am not actually buying a "SG." But I do hope this made you giggle.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Shout out to all the teachers.

Since this was my first OFFICIAL day back, I would like to say a big "thank you" to every teacher who has probably experienced the following before they were even required to be back at school. **Many of these are true and real situations. Names have been deleted to protect the innocent/embarrassed.
  • Spending countless hours in an un-air conditioned room putting up cute border/bulletin boards/organizational systems 
  • The laminator eating the poster you just spend 2 hours decorating and gluing tiny die-cuts to
  • Making your umpteenth trip to Wal-Mart/Hobby Lobby/Copelins/The Dollar Tree/Insert Any Other Store here to buy cute border/organizational systems/markers/paper/etc.
  • Leaving your purchases for your room at home which forces you to go get them and waste valuable time
  • Spending little time with friends and loved ones while gearing up
  • Attending workshops/meetings instead of hanging at the mall/lake/pool/insert other relaxing activity here
  • Hauling your kids/spouse to school to help you 
  • Waking up in a cold sweat from a school dream in which your class consists of different versions of the same student (as in Michael Keaton in "Multiplicity"), or your floor is slanty so your desks all slide to one side, or you have to share a room with another teacher and her 25 students as well as yours or....
  • using a heating pad all the time because the stress of it all aggravates your sensitive muscles
  • one word: Tylenol
  • Gluing something to your person and not seeing it until you have returned home from gallivanting around town to above stores
  • your husband thinking that your floor has tiny pieces of glass on it when really it is lamination film scraps
  • bruises on your thighs from pushing desks around your room into thirteen different configurations until every kid is guaranteed the perfect spot
  • updating your curriculum maps while on vacation
  • doing it all and knowing that you would do it again in a heartbeat.
I hope anyone who reads this will thank a teacher for all of the dedication and love they put into all that they do. I don't know a single teacher who doesn't drag themself to school early to ready their room. It doesn't all get done in one work day? Get out of town! I want all of the teachers that I know to know that I NOTICE all that they do. 

I love love love you all.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Picture Books!! I love em so. You know you do too!

My very favorite picture book is and will always be...drumroll please....... Panda Cake by Rosalie Seidler. Nobody ever seems to know this book, but I love it. Have you ever used money for something fun instead of what it was intended for? Be honest now.

Really, I want to hear what your favorite picture book is.


How do I leave comments on a blog?

It has come to my attention that some of my peeps (yeah, I said it!) need a little assistance posting comments. I will assume that after I post this, I will have soooo many comments that I won't know what to do. Side note: I had a similar issue when trying to post to Amanda Aragon's hilarious blog. Click below to go through the steps.

How do I leave comments on a blog?


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Summer Reading Goal: Book Reviews 1 & 2

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
I have such mixed feelings about this one. The main character of the book is Rose, who at the age of nine discovers that she can taste emotions in food. As the book progresses, we learn that she isn't the only member of her family who has an unusual talent. We follow her through adulthood. How will she eat anything?!

Aimee Bender's writing is mesmerizing, although some people may be put-off by the disappearance of all quotation marks! I didn't mind it once I got the hang of it. All of this is well and good. I enjoy a little magic. I can even get behind the characters. They (Rose's mother, father, and brother Joseph being the main supporting cast) are well-developed and I found myself liking them. But wait...

About two-thirds of the way through the book, I started feeling frustrated. Not just, "I really want to know what is going to happen" frustrated. More like, "This is veering way off course and into too weird for even Brandi territory!" Let me just say that I was left feeling unsatisfied with Joseph's storyline. I won't give it away in case you are planning on reading it.

Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It by Maile Meloy
This collection of short stories left me wanting to help the characters through their loneliness and problems. I found myself relating to them and then wishing them well as I moved on to the next tale. The characters are real and flawed and wonderful. The collection's characters, filled marital strife, confusion, longing, and hopefulness, reminded me of so many people I know. Meloy captures the essence of living in rural and wide-open spaces. I don't usually enjoy short stories or sad ones at that, but I will read these again. My favorite of the eleven was "Agustin" about an elderly man who longs for a former lover who reappears. I cried more than once while reading these observant stories.

**if you do read "Both Ways" and like it, you might also enjoy "The Ballad of the Sad Cafe" or "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" by Carson McCullers. Really, anything by Carson McCullers. I love love love her.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Best Summer Food: The Tomato Sandwich

I'm coming out to the world. I love tomato sandwiches. Some people may find this odd. Some people also eat bread sandwiches, or mayo sandwiches. Obviously, some people just don't know. Juicy ripe garden tomatoes, Miracle Whip (I enjoy that tangy zip), and salt on soft white bread. Mmmm. I just had to get it out in the open.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Firecrackers and Squash Toilets

With the end of the summer just around the corner, I have been thinking about all of the unusual ways that I used to spend my summers.

One of my favorite summer employment stories is working at our fireworks stand. It was a pretty lazy job for the first two weeks. The worst part was being forced out of bed in the summer. Also that we had to pack and restock the inventory daily to protect the fireworks from being stolen. During the day we usually spent our time puddling sweat, selling Black Cats and M-80's to 10 year old boys who planned to use them on defenseless animals or in ponds, and insisting that we did not have a secret stash of bottle rockets in "the back." Even though all we had was a tiny wooden stand with nowhere to put a "back." We also ate pretty good, since our Grandma Bonnie, Grandpa Ben, and Mama would bring us grub.

I do remember this one lady who would come to the stand.Casey and I would find all kinds of creative ways to avoid waiting on her. I know, it was mean. I was only like 14. She was a round, no-nonsense kind of woman in a floral mu-mu. She also walked all the way to the edge of town to our stand to buy smoke balls. In June. She said the smoke balls were for the spiders in her cellar. She would buy a few packs at a time and pay us with sweaty bills. I won't say where she stored the cash before she handed it to us. Let's just say that we did not want to touch it. I never did know who she was. Just one of the anonymous elderly. Man, I wish I had been more curious about her identity.

Before the fireworks stand, I had a brief stint at squash farming.Yes, I said squash farming. I had completely forgotten about this until recently when I was telling my friend Amanda about it at lunch. I have since asked my mom about it to fill in the details. Here goes. A local family, the Browns, I think, had planted several fields of squash and needed farm hands to help with the harvest. Harvest meaning, pick up this squash and put it in this 5 gallon bucket. They spread the word through our 4-H club. I had always been a little joiner, plus I needed money to buy a scooter. EVERYONE had one. Side-note: We lived in the country and did not even have a suitable surface on which to ride a scooter.

I arrived at Quick Way where my mom bought me and my sister breakfast. Probably a ham and cheese pizza pocket and a Mountain Dew, if I had my way. I'm going to estimate that breakfast cost $2.00 each. Then we loaded up on the truck with the other "hands" and headed on out. Here is where it gets hazy.

I remember that we got paid like 50 cents per bucket. Now, I was an average sized 11 year old. The bucket was heavy! It was sooooo hot! I hated to eat squash! We would walk along the furrowed rows and pick up the squash off of the ground. I know that I definitely got one full bucket. Then I saw her. Another girl my age! What is she doing? She looked so happy there in the dirt. Then I realized that she was carving something from a sub-par squash reject. Stacey was making little squash toilets. She was enjoying herself so much that I had to join her. So I did. Optimistically, I made 75 cents. My breakfast was $2.00. Enough said.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

August Rush

Okay. So, I do these breathing techniques to help me calm down, regroup, fall asleep, and basically not murder people. Lately, they have been very helpful and in the coming weeks, if you see me in a corner with my eyes closed repeatedly counting to four, just walk on by. Really. Here is the run-down on our crazy August. 

The restaurant (Coriander Cafe, come and see us!) will open in just a few weeks. The weekend of August 20th to be exact. All of my Washington pals will be able to tell you that the opening coincides exactly with back-to-school. Soooo, for the next few weeks, CHAOS! Jeremiah and Chris have been working at a furious pace already. I can't imagine the perfect storm we will create when I throw myself into the mix. 

At this point, I am going to throw in a little update on my dad. Mostly because my family takes up a ton of space in my mind and I never feel like I have enough time there. Here goes.The doctors have basically decided that it would be best to manage his pain at this point, since his liver is very damaged from all of the treatment. Any more chemo would make his liver hurt even more. Less time on the road to Houston and more time with family is in order.  

Now for baby. I haven't done a lick to prepare the nursery for our little baby girl. We were mostly waiting to find out her gender, but I must say that procrastination has come into play. We also have yet to fix the kitchen and utility room floors along with other home repairs. And we need to register. Sheesh.

Inhale, 2, 3, 4-Hold, 2, 3, 4-Exhale, 2, 3, 4- Hold, 2, 3, 4- Repeat. Try it. It works. 

This is slowly turning into a to-do list. To stop myself and save you, I end with a quote from Forrest Gump. That's all I have to say about that. For now:)


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Road-trip Linguistic Sampler

Here are a few of the PG-rated quotable quotes I heard while trekking across the country in a Chrysler Town and Country Van with four grown men. Pardon the implied potty humor. It was unavoidable.

1. You coulda put anything in my pocket. I thought I was going to die!
2. This van smells like sausage.
3. That smell did not come from outside!
4. I'm not taking a shower for the rest of the time.
5. I can't get this butterbeer taste out of my mouth.
6. AHHH! I only have one "constanant!" (yes, I spelled it that way on purpose)
7. I just saw a bunch of kids coming out of Harry Potter waving their wands.
8. At least you don't have cankles yet.
9. I saw the fire in your eyes that night. I NEVER wanna see that again!
10. I have sand in my bits and pieces. My cash and prizes.
11. You're gonna be a love-less, big-bellied merman.
12. I'm sorry. I need to clear the distractions from my life and just sing.
13. I would rather not hear about your twosies.

With all of the active imaginations out there, I am sure you can fill in the conversations that surrounded these quotes. I am a little scared to hear your speculations...

We did make it all the way to Orlando and back home, which is pretty darn good if you ask me. All I can say is sheesh. We had lots of fun, but vacations always make me appreciate home. So glad to be back:)


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summer Reading Goal

I love to read! I have this fear, planted in my head by my sister, that once the baby arrives, I won't have time to cut my toenails, much less read. So... fueled by anxiety and my voracious literary appetite, I am setting a goal. Here is the list of books I WANT to read this summer.

  • Sundays at Tiffany's- my wonderful friend Hollie recommends this one. She said that the tagline is, "What if your one true love is your imaginary friend?" Need I say more? I can't wait to read this one. It will also be my first James Patterson book. 
  • The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. This one is about a woman who, at age eleven, discovers that she can taste emotions in food. My first inclination: a gift and a curse. Plus, with Jeremiah being a chef, I feel an interesting connection. I also love love love the title.
  • Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It. 11 short stories. Oprah had it on her summer reading list. Nuf said.
  • The Outlander Series- I'm on to book 2 "Voyager." Who doesn't love time travel and Scottish Highland Clansmen?  BONUS: The main male character, Jamie Fraser, is super dreamy. Plus my Grandma Bonnie has excellent taste in books. She opened my eyes to the series.
  • The Hunger Games- Yet another Carol Fain recommendation. We all know that she can pick a book! It is by Suzanne Collins (author of the Gregor the Overlander series). From what I remember it seems to be all about a contest in an impoverished society. The winner of the contest gets food for their family for life...I think the losers die. Sheesh!
  • Three Cups of Tea- I'm having a hard time getting started on this one. I usually struggle with non-fiction, but I really want to see it through. 
  • All of my baby books. 
As I finish a book, my plan is to write a little review. Wish me luck! If you have any suggestions, leave a comment. I always love a good book:)


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Giant Holes in the Floor and Other Joys

Let's cut to the chase. I am dirty, all of my pictures and knick knacks are displaced, and I have several holes cut in various surfaces in my home (the cabinet under my sink, 4 in my kitchen floor, a big 'un under the hot water heater, a couple in the sheet rock in the utility room, and some little dents in my roof). But, even with life and all of it's stress, I really can't complain. I have some nice things to say about our home repair drama...

Our plumber, Bob, left today with a bunch of tools, a leaky hot water heater, and my gratitude. He gave us hot water back after 4 days. He found all of the leaks. He did it all with a smile. I don't really even mind that he used a jack hammer inside my house...maybe a little. Bob rocks!

We have insurance that will cover all of the damage, except the actual leaky pipe. Our insurance adjuster was very nice and offered to look at our roof while he was here. It took him longer to get his ladder out than it did for him to come back down and say, "Yeah, you need a new roof." I could complain that we have one more thing to fix, but I won't. I'm smiling because he saved us from a leaky ceiling. We do not need that with a little J or Brandi on the way. I'm so thankful for insurance!

Brian let up shack up with him for a couple of days. Foster got to play with Max. Now they are best buds. I'm so thankful for such a wonderful pal!

Jeremiah has been so wonderful about all of this. He is calm when I am wiggin' (which is often, if I am being honest). I love love love my hubby!

Now, I am going to take a hot shower in the middle of summer, because you never know when your hot water pipes will bust. Carpe' diem.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Weight Loss Challenge

First of all, no, I am not trying to lose weight while pregnant. I can imagine the thoughts flying through the heads of all of you. Simmer down. The Weight Loss Challenge is between Jeremiah and Charles. They have decided that they will have a contest to see who can lose the most weight/be the strongest.

The rules as I understand them (inevitably there will be a revision post when they read this and notice what I misunderstood): 
1. They will work together. Jeremiah weight training and Chuck will be in charge of cardio. Since they have separate work schedules and are both sneaky and competitive, they will also work-out on their own. It seems they haven't really discussed scheduling, only that Jeremiah will win and Chuck will lose and vice versa.
2. Weight loss will be measured in percentage of body weight lost. Jeremiah says that in order to be fair, since he is already WAY stronger than Chuck, they will only measure weight loss. 
3. The contest starts as soon as Charles weighs. Jeremiah has already weighed, but we won't publish any weights until the contest is over.4. The winner will be able to humiliate the loser in some public way... Possible scenarios: when the restaurant opens (Coriander Cafe on Campus Corner- tell your friends!) the loser will work a shift waiting tables with a shirt on that explains that he is inferior to the winner and in what ways or wearing a costume and handing out flyers for the restaurant. Any suggestions are welcome:)
5. The contest will be three months long.

Revisions: Chris is joining. He seems pessimistic about his cardio, but it is too late to back out now that I have posted this. The boys have decided that the winner gets $50 in addition to the "other" prize. Attached is a picture of Jeremiah and Chuck pumping iron.

That is all I know for now. We will see how long this lasts.