Friday, October 8, 2010

The move

So I haven't figured out the couch situation yet. Thanks to many of you, I have several great options. Now I just need to commit...

In other news, we had a very busy summer and I am going to try to document some of it. Today I will talk about the move. I had been itching to move out of our second-floor apartment since about the time we moved in there almost four years ago. We finally jumped ship and we are so happy we did. We moved to a small community called Fairlington, which is actually a historic landmark. At the beginning of World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked architects to design these townhomes in order to house Pentagon defense workers. Because of its designation as a historic district, very little change has been made to the exteriors of the townhomes in this community and there is bountiful open space in the middle of the otherwise crowded cities of Arlington and Alexandria. It's quaint and quiet and yet we are just five minutes out of downtown Washington, D.C.

And I loved the idea of having an outdoor space...
... I know you people with backyards are laughing out loud right now, but you have no idea how cramped I have felt the last few years. There aren't many backyards (OK, affordable ones) here but we have a patio! And there are lots of shared grassy places outside of the fence :-). All we really needed was a place to eat ice cream and get really messy.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ruby is 1!

photo by Jon and Melissa Photography

At exactly 4:30 a.m. a year ago, a deep pain in my lower back and abdomen roused me from my sleep and I turned to Ryan and said, "I think this is it." I wasn't positive that this - Ruby's birth - was really actually happening since it was my first painful contraction and I had never experienced spontaneous labor before (Ethan was induced). I waited and about 10 minutes later, I had another contraction. I told Ryan to get up while I went to call the answering service for my doctor to let them know that little Ruby was on her way.

Five weeks earlier at a regular doctor's visit, the nurse practitioner was almost finished with my appointment when I asked her if she could check if I had dilated at all. She said they don't normally check this early, but... sure, why not? She did and discovered that I was already at a 3. They sent me to labor and delivery to get a stress test, where I found out that I was having contractions five minutes apart... only I couldn't feel them at all.

I was given some medication to slow things down and told to take it easy at home and stop lifting my 2 1/2-year-old. I didn't touch the medication but I was more than happy to hang out on the couch :-). At the next week's appointment, I was told I was at a 4 and that I needed to be on true bed rest for a week. They said the baby would probably be fine if she came that early, but would most likely have to live in the neonatal intensive care unit for a week. I wanted to avoid that at all costs so I listened to their advice and took another week off - thanks to my wonderful husband and friends, who took Ethan without me even asking, brought me delicious dinners and came to just hang out. One girlfriend brought a Ricki Lake documentary about natural childbirth over to watch. I laughed at her, but after watching it, thought I should probably learn how to breath through contractions because I had the feeling that my labor would go so fast that I wouldn't be able to get an epidural.

At three weeks until Ruby's due date (Oct. 8), I was off bed rest and at the park every day. I went on walks and lifted my child and danced around like I normally do. I was told I was at a "4 to 5" (factoring in the diameter of the pinky, maybe?) and I should have this baby "any day now." Every day I woke up without any plans. I prayed every night that I wouldn't go into labor but woke up every morning feeling disappointed that I hadn't.

Normally, a woman in labor is told to stay home until her contractions are regular and occur between 3 to 5 minutes apart. But those two hard contractions 10 minutes apart in the very early morning hours of Oct. 5 2009, were enough to get me out of bed and on the way to the hospital. Since I was already basically halfway through labor, my doctor told me to go to the hospital if I had any painful contractions at all.

So I called our neighbors to come stay on our couch and watch Ethan. My contractions were coming 3 minutes apart as Ryan took a shower and I got everything together. We left the house at about 5:15 a.m. As we started going, my contractions slowed and I thought maybe we should turn around and go back home. I dismissed the thought, feeling too embarrassed after waking my poor neighbors up. Ryan suggested we stop and get gas on our way since the little arm on the gas meter was like 1/4-inch below empty. Luckily, there were no gas stations along the way (and fumes ended up being enough to get us there).

We got to the hospital at about 5:30 a.m. and moseyed our way on up to labor and delivery. I stopped at several places and fell to my knees to labor through a few contractions (they were back with a vengence). I filled out my forms, changed into my gown and by 5:45-ish was lying on the table crying for an epidural. At about 5:55, my water broke. Dr. Meta, the most beautiful older woman I have ever seen, came in and checked me at the same time the anesthesiologist walked in. She turned to him and shook her head. I couldn't hear her but I watched the anesthesiologist walk backward out the door saying, "I'm sorry."

At that point, I just knew I needed to push and I must do it without medication. I was kind of excited to try. And then a contraction forked through my body and took over my determination. It's all a blurry memory to me, but Ryan said I screamed like I was being stabbed. The nurse told me to turn that scream into a push. I did and after about three pushes, Ruby came into this world at 6:04 a.m.

Her speedy delivery might have been an early indication of her personality. She is fiesty and fun and does not like to wait :-). She knows how to defend herself from her 3-year-old brother and is very good at fake crying and getting him in trouble. One of her hobbies is standing on my lap and trying to pull my eyelashes out. All joking aside, she is also really sweet and is constantly giving loves and cooing. She adores her binky and blankey and has a lot to say. Her babble of choice is "tickle-lickle-lickle" and she says a few words like "baby," "ball," "bye-bye," "momma," and "dadda." She loves peek-a-boo and talking on the phone. She stands up easily without pulling herself up but has only taken one step alone. Sometimes she starts dancing spontaneously in the shopping cart to the store music.

And today she is 1! We love her and feel so lucky to have our little Rubster.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

This picky girl needs options!

I'm happy to report that I have finally moved out of my two-bedroom second-floor apartment to a bigger - albeit not by much - place! I now have a basement in which to stick my loooovely brown microsuede couch! As long as it clears the narrow stairway, that baby will be out of plain sight and comfortably situated in the man room downstairs, which makes me very happy. This brings me to my next point: I need to get another sofa to replace it. I know, I should be so joyful. My only issue is that the couch I want is this one:
And purchasing that one would put me out around $2,600. Sadly, I can't spend that much on a sofa and even if I could, I would be stupid buying it anyway as I have two very fabulous small children with sticky hands and snotty noses.

I need a less expensive option. Anyone know where I can find a sofa that has this sort of look but costs less than $1,000?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A beach is a beach to me

Every summer my family heads up to a small body of water in the northern Utah mountains called Bear Lake. Since it is at a high-altitude and consists mostly of snow run-off, Bear Lake is usually pretty chilly - even in mid-July. This was the case a week ago when my family reunioned there without me. I called my mom and she said she was sitting on the beach freezing. It's cold and you usually don't leave Bear Lake without a sunburn. We always say that it's just too close to the sun. I'm sure it has more to do with the fact that you don't apply sunscreen because you don't feel like you can get sunburned when your teeth are chattering.
Despite this less-than-perfect beach situation, Bear Lake is one of my favorite summer destinations because I have so many great memories there of good times with both my family and friends. I was sad to miss out on the tradition this year but our little family has come up with a beach tradition of our own, though at a beach much different from Bear Lake.

Each summer we face the risk of getting poked by a needle in the sand and head to the closest beach to us in Ocean City, Maryland. Our local friends wonder why we would want to go to such a trashy place. Yes, it's true that Ocean City ranks highest in hotel filth and features more naked lady tattooes on fat, tanned-to-brown biceps than any other place in the world. I'll admit, that's part of the allure for me. I am a champion people watcher and there are plenty of interesting people to see there. And it's not like we are anywhere near the Jersey Shore-esque bar scene. We just go with friends and enjoy the warm sand, boogey board on the rough waves and watch our children have the times of their lives. We went a couple of weeks ago to do just that.
Only, it was strange because it was really windy and we were cold! It was sort of a bizarro world as typically wave-terrified Ethan got in the water (and loved it) and the rest of us just sat in the sand and shivered. No one even swam.

But, just like my old family tradition in Bear Lake, I didn't need hot temperatures to have fun. The people-watching was superb. And the kids didn't complain once.
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bookmarked for hopefully-not-too-far-in-the-future reference

You have probably seen this apartment before as photos of it have graced design blogs for a few years now. I have had links to these photos of Kate Spade's place bookmarked on my computer in hopes that one day I will have a space of my own (and a leeetle bit more money) to decorate like this one.

I often define my design style (what very little there is) as ecclectic and I guess I sort of say that because I like so many different styles and I always want to put them all together - in the same space. Ha! So I loved seeing the classic shapes mixed with more modern textiles (I want that headboard!) and art. And I have been searching for a mid-century modern dining set like that since I discovered Craigslist.

Oh, and the stripes - don't you love all of the stripe accents?

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Fourth

If you know me at all, you know that I am obsessed with fireworks. I love to sit underneath them and absorb the vibration in my chest when they burst. I want to watch them fan out and to feel like they are going to sprinkle down on top of me. We were able to get a good, close view of them last year when we took my sister and her family down to the National Mall to watch them. I was pregnant then and the bathroom situation wasn't exactly ideal (and by un-ideal I mean a 30 minute wait for a Port-a-Potty sans toilet paper). Since we have a recently potty-trained kid with us, we decided to stay closer to home and are fortunate to have a great look-out point just a couple of blocks from our apartment. We had an amazing spot, but had to be there early to save it (and sweat it out in 90 + degree weather). The kids got a little restless...
Luckily, we were there with fun friends. These two are such good buddies. We all watched the traffic on I-395 slow. Soon, the cars in each lane stopped moving and then people got out of their cars to watch fireworks. It's pretty amazing to see such a huge freeway at a complete standstill, abandoned cars (well, for the moment) and all.
Of course, our amazing spot got taken over by complete strangers. We still had a pretty great view (better than this photo portrays).
We watched for a while and all seemed OK and then both children started crying at the same time. I sent Ryan home with the kids and stayed to watch the finale. He knows how much I love fireworks.
p.s. I don't choose what Google advertises on the side of my blog so don't judge me that right now, there is an advertisement for "Elephant Dung Collector." I almost feel like clicking on the link...Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A way to keep busy indoors (and another reason to put off cleaning your house)

It is around 100 degrees outside right now (go ahead, roll your eyes, Las Vegas family members) and I decided that we would spend our time indoors today. This is strange for me, as we are at the park almost every morning. We hit up the fabric store instead of the park today. As I thumbed through the patterns, I happened upon these cute ones and bought this first one:

I'm hoping to make two dresses out of that pattern. I didn't buy the second pattern, but isn't that jacket cute? It is so detailed and I worry if I made it, it would look homemade since I am such a novice sewer. But if this heat keeps up, I'll be a pro in no time.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Another skirt, another post

Guest blogging about my second solo clothes-sewing experience over at Aunt Spicy's today.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Let's talk feelings

This guy is finished with school. And barring any future itch to get a doctorate, he is finished forever. Friday night, when he came home from his last class, he was a changed man. His voice even sounded different.

I feel a little different too. I have been pretty burnt out lately. Yesterday morning I got up and realized that I might actually be able to make it through the day without a major breakdown because I had something to look forward to: Ryan would come home from work that night, the next night and, I guess, the rest of our nights and he would stay home. No more eating and running. No more night school! I feel like we have him all to ourselves now and that feels amazing.

In other news, a couple of these spies were arrested in a building about a block away and I would love to find out in which park these money exchanges took place. It's all very exciting ;-).

Monday, June 28, 2010


This kid is currently obsessed with all things Toy Story. He is working toward getting life-sized Woody and Buzz, both of which are currently sitting on the top shelf in my closet. To get Woody down he must participate (don't bug mom) in quiet time for one hour each day for one month. For Buzz, he must sleep the entire night in his own bed for 30 nights. Ethan has a nasty little habit of sneeking into our room at night and climbing into bed with us. We don't seem to notice until I am awakened by Ethan's knobby knees jabbing into my back or by sore muscles which have been unconsiously flexing in order to stay on the bed since the 3-year-old is sprawled out in my spot. I usually wake up in the morning angry when this happens and the rest of the day my mood seems to follow suit. So I bought the toys with him in the cart, let him push the lazor on Buzz's arm all the way home for Target, and then stuck them up in the closet where he can see them (and he goes into my room at least 10 times a day to get a look).

I'm pretty sure I'm a genius because he has now slept in his bed all night for six nights in a row (and we won't mention everything else I have tried to keep him there for the last several months)!

Ethan has become quite the golfer, a product of Ryan's secret plan to have a golfing partner for the rest of his life. I think it's working since every day Ethan tells Ryan they need to "go hit balls at the ranger." This morning Ryan told him that if he took a nap today they could go tonight. He is fast asleep on the couch as I type.
This girl is crawling and we are so happy! For most moms I talk to, crawling is a trial. "That's when it really gets hard," they say, or "it's just so exhausting when they start to crawl." I don't get it. A mobile baby is a happy baby. She just crawls around and gets what she wants instead of whining and crying for something.

She is so happy and funny. Yesterday I let her drink water out of my cup. Of course it spilled all over her. To my surprise, she thought it was so funny and just giggled and giggled. She's kind of wild and loves be thrown up, bounced or hung upside down.

She thinks Ethan is the funniest kid until he gets within a foot of her and then she starts growling and batting her arms in self-defense. Ethan often comes out with scratches on his face but he doesn't complain because he knows he's not supposed to provoke her.

Unfortunately, she takes after me in the stuck-up baby department. She will not go to anyone but me, Ryan and her uncle Rob. She becomes unglued if we are around other people and I am out of her sight for even a second. Apparently I was glued to my mom's hip as a baby too. Sadly, my first word was "don't," and I used that word if people even dared to look at me. We're working on it and hoping to make her become a friendly baby. :-)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

And now to work up the motivation...

I picked up the finished quilt squares yesterday. Aren't the colors and patterns beautiful?

Huge thanks to the woman who started it all, Aunt Spicy. She went above and beyond her role as organizer in so many ways and even made us all these cute hanging hearts out of some of the fabric. Unfortunately, she will no longer be sending out regularly scheduled reminder e-mails to finish quilting.
I don't know what I will do without a deadline. OK, really, I know exactly what I won't do.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The wrong time to visit our nation's capital

Temperatures are going to be well into the 90s (with smothering humidity mixed in here and there) every day this week.

My suggestion?
Find a fountain and stick your feet in.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hairthings for the confident

So you probably won't ever catch me donning one of these... um... hairthings. But that doesn't mean that I don't think they are amazing. Because these pieces are playful and, in a weird way, fabulous. I would love to meet the girl who does have the guts (and bone structure) to wear them.
Zara Carpenter is Etsy's featured seller today and I love these images - especially the top one.

Six years ago we were doing this...

... walking across a street in wedding attire.

Monday, June 14, 2010

One of these things is not like the others

I am a textbook procrastinator participating in a quilt block exchange with a bunch of organized, high-functioning perfectionists. I know at least 19 of the 20 other women involved in this exchange are like this (maybe a little bit Type A? You know, they probably have designated spots in their homes for things like hair elastics and paperclips) because yesterday I received an e-mail listing each gal who was finished with her quilt squares. There were 19 who were done. And there were still two days left until the fabric squares are due!

Of course, I was one of the two dilly-dalliers who isn't quite done. Before reading through the list, I guessed the other person who was probably still sewing and I was right (you know who you are, and I love you). I can't speak for her, but I am maybe not the most motivated person, a fact that made me question why I joined this exchange in the first place. But I have definitely enjoyed piecing these squares together and working with (and smelling and feeling) the beautiful fabric. Also, it will be neat to have a quilt made by a group of such amazing friends - new and old. And - for anyone reading this post who is involved in the exchange - I am extremely close to the end and will finish before tomorrow's deadline ;-).

Friday, June 11, 2010


a pair of lightly worn black leather oxfords at a secret little thrift shop (shout out to Mystique). sort of wishing they were either patent leather or brown but can't complain because I paid $3. still working up the courage to wear them.

modeled on Ethan :-).

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Shirtain

The Shirtain

I have waaaaay too much time on my hands.
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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Swimming season begins

Other randoms:
If I could choose what my voice sounded like, I would make sure to sing like her.
I enjoyed reading this very short post on my cousin Nic's blog. He describes an ordinary dilemma beautifully.