May 11, 2013

Lisa: education > ignorance

I recently read an unusually thoughtful and calm Facebook thread started by someone sharing an article about Elizabeth Smart's controversial talk at the Johns Hopkins human trafficking forum. I don't really want to argue about whether Elizabeths remarks indicate if she is or is not against abstinence-only education. I will say that as a fully active Mormon who practiced abstinence until marriage, I strongly believe our schools should present a balanced, fact-based sex education program that includes abstinence as one valid (and very effective) form of protection against STDs and pregnancy. I personally think a lack of education doesnt necessarily keep teenagers sexually unawakened. It just breeds the kind of ignorance that results in a pregnant teen saying to her dad, "But I dont understand how this happened. We didn't even have sex!"

Even if Elizabeth Smart did not say the words "abstinence-only education," she certainly mentioned a specific object lesson she had been given, comparing a girl who had engaged in sex before marriage to a "chewed-up piece of gum" that no future abstinence-minded spouse would want to put in his mouth. This version of The Tainted Muffin (which Ive railed against before here) had the particularly heartbreaking effect of making an innocent victim of kidnapping and repeated rape feel so worthless she wasnt even sure it was worth trying to escape.

The Facebook thread I mentioned above was discussing how to successfully teach our children the practical and moral value of abstinence, without using shame or describing sex (and the associated feelings and body parts) as dirty or evil. These techniques may be effective in the short term for some young people, but can have long-lasting and very damaging effects on their sexual attitudes as adults who are suddenly allowed to have sex within the bonds of holy matrimony.

I thought one comment in the thread was particularly thought provoking. I would like to give the commenter credit here, but I dont know her and I dont know if she would like her anonymity preserved. Here's what she said:

You have to eliminate "sin next to murder" rhetoric, stop teaching that sexual arousal is problematic, talk openly and directly about sexual power and agency (waiting for marriage becomes a proactive, empowered choice, instead of a reactive, fear-based one), openly and explicitly teach grace for those who choose not to wait instead of shame and condemnation, stop including masturbation and "necking and petting" as part of the law of chastity, and eliminate any teaching that implies that girls and women are responsible for the sexual feelings and responses of boys and men. For starters.

I think theres a lot of good stuff here, and the response from the subsequent commenters was largely positive. One commenter, who I will also leave anonymous, politely offered a slight amendment:

I am grateful that I was advised to avoid necking and petting before marriage. It made it unique and special to share with it with my husband and comforting to know I wasn't xteenth experience for him either.

I am glad this was true for this woman and that she is happy with her choices, but I would like to state emphatically that I know this does not have to be true for everyone. How? I know because it is not true for me. Petting aside (because none of your business), "necking" with the boys I dated before I met my husband is a happy memory for me. Those experiences were fun, and exciting, and a little silly and ridiculous, and part of being close to someone I cared about. They were part of being a teenager and growing up and figuring out how to be an adult. They helped me decide how I wanted to be treated by a romantic partner. They are a kind of physical interaction that isn't focused on as much when you're allowed to "go all the way." And finally, they are part of what makes me know that what I have with my husband now is lasting and truly special.

I hope when my girls are teenagers they have all the information. I hope they see how beautiful and smart and amazing they are. I hope they know their intrinsic worth is not determined by how others see or treat them. I hope their health teachers scare the crap out of them with banana/condom demonstrations and the Miracle of Life video, and give them practical information on what exactly could get them pregnant. I hope they have fun and feel free to be teenagers (within reason). I hope they understand why I felt abstinence was important for me. I hope they are thoughtfully taught why our church puts a high value on chastity, fidelity, and the sanctity of the power of procreation. I hope they are comfortable coming to me with questions about this stuff. Most of all I hope they know that if they make different choices than I did, that I--and God, and their future spouse--will still love them just as much.

July 24, 2011

Lisa: our life now

A month ago, life at our house changed forever, and--I think--for the better. On June 21st at 7:46 pm, Hazel Madeline Smith was born. While I was in labor, Nora wrote Hazel a message in my notebook. Jeff helped her spell it, but I think the idea and the words are all Nora.

There's something so difficult but so incredibly magical about a three-year-old opening up room in her life for a new baby sister. I can't wait to see their relationship grow, and I can't believe how lucky I am they're both mine.

April 11, 2011

Lisa: Progress! (nursery edition)

You guys probably haven't noticed (because I can't imagine that anyone really cares), but I have been checking stuff off my before-the-baby-comes house list like crazy. Blake has been awesome, and Sarah and E have helped a ton as well. Thank goodness for tax refunds, too.

I took some (confusingly blurry) photos of Nora's spruced-up room with her new bed and rug. I haven't reassembled the crib yet to put in there, but we have measured everything out and the new furniture arrangement will fit the crib if we take out the rocker and the easel. I'm not sure if the magnitude of this discovery is clear, but our rooms are pretty tiny and I am VERY excited that it's going to work to have the girls share the upstairs bedroom.

As a reminder, the before photos are here. It's not so much a redecorating as it is a rearranging. Still, it means a lot of work and Nora is super excited about her big bed (and about her future roommate).

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

February 20, 2011

Lisa: refeathering the nest

In a practically lethal combination of pregnancy-induced nesting and reading a LOT of Young House Love, I've come up with a list of house-sprucing projects I want to try to do before the baby is born.

As a bit of pre-explanation: I already convinced Blake to let me pull up the carpet in our little hallway as an experiment, and what Sarah and I uncovered is good enough that I think we'll continue in the upstairs bedrooms as well. We have also already started buying one or two of these items each month, in an effort to spread out the costs and avoid buying everything on credit at the last minute.

THE LIST:

Nursery (see some before pictures here, although it's evolved a lot over the last three years)

  • buy and assemble Nora's new, bigger bed
  • give away Nora's toddler bed
  • rip up the carpet, install quarter-round, and buy an area rug
  • pare down Nora's clothes and toys
  • move most of the toys downstairs into the family room
  • go through our storage to unearth the old baby stuff
  • touch up the paint on and reassemble Nora's old crib
  • replace the ugly, dated ceiling fan with a cute light fixture?
  • Living Room

  • buy BILLY bookcases for each side of the fireplace
  • buy a flat screen TV to fit inside one of the bookcases
  • paint the living room (and possibly also the adjoining dining room and hallway) a color like Behr's 410F-4, Mother Nature
  • give away our green TV cabinet (which you can see half of here)
  • move books and TV components into the new bookcases
  • buy new throw pillows to better coordinate with the artwork that's in the room now?
  • Family Room (see some before pictures here)

  • move the fancier books upstairs into the new living room bookcases
  • pare down our collection of movies, video games, and books
  • make room on the bookshelves for toy baskets or bins
  • set up a real playroom area for Nora and the baby, since the majority of the toys are going to be moved down here
  • Master Bedroom (see some oldish before pictures here)

  • pull up the carpet and install quarter-round molding
  • recover my DIY headboard with new IKEA fabric
  • buy a new duvet cover and linens--possibly white with black accents
  • hang new art/family portraits in black frames
  • sew a new cover for the laundry sorting basket (possibly from the wrong fabric I bought with the headboard in mind)
  • pare down display items
  • replace the ceiling fan with a pretty light fixture (Honestly, we will probably give both of the ceiling fans one more summer to prove their worth before getting rid of them.)
  • So. Thoughts? I'll try to post updates if and when I get around to actually completing any of these projects. Let me know if you want to put your name in for the toddler bed or TV cabinet (or the dish display rack, for that matter), or if you have any last minute warnings or advice.

    January 31, 2011

    Lisa: Tool of the Week

    When I found out I was pregnant for a second time (yay, us!), I was faced with a bit of a (head-) hair dilemma. I didn't want to fume out the fetus with a lot of nasty chemicals right up near my (eye, nose, and mouth-type) sensitive membranes, but I also wasn't ready to grow out nine months' worth of ashy, light brown roots. I did a lot of research on more natural hair-coloring methods, including henna, but I wasn't left with a lot of hope regarding either their effectiveness or any increased gentleness.

    Time passed. My roots got more obvious. Finally, in a fit of desperation I rushed into a nearby drugstore, intending to just get a box of the regular stuff and open some windows and hold my breath while I slathered it on. BUT! The drugstore didn't carry my preferred brand (or was out of my preferred color? I don't remember) and I found myself in the dye aisle, searching for an alternate solution. Enter...

    CLAIROL NICE 'N EASY ROOT TOUCH UP
    (Beware, Angela Martin starts talking to you when you open that link, and I couldn't figure out how to turn her off.)

    Allow me to tell you why this product is awesome/what makes it different.

    1) It's guaranteed to match any brand of home or salon color, and even lists the popular brands and their colorways on the side of the box.

    2) It's significantly cheaper than the regular, full-application box.

    3) It comes with significantly less product. This is probably why it's cheaper. HOWEVER, this is a plus in my book. As a long-time same-color dyer, I was following the touch-up application instructions in the full box anyway. That means that after applying dye to my roots, I was supposed to finish by combing it through the rest of my hair, resulting in an unattractive ombre effect that was darkest at the ends. Also, there was so much more dye than I really needed that I was probably overapplying, in an effort not to waste what I'd bought. The Nice 'N Easy has just enough dye to apply to the roots over my whole head--no anxiety about throwing half a bottle away.

    4) The dye is mixed and delivered in a different format--with a little dish and brush instead of the squeeze bottle. The little brush that comes with the Nice 'N Easy lets you apply just the amount of dye you need right where you need it. With the squeeze bottle, I found I was applying a ton of dye pretty inexactly. No more sploogeing it out past your hairline!

    5) You wait with the dye on your hair for less time. The box I was using before was a 25-35 minute wait, but Nice 'N Easy takes only 10-15 minutes.

    6) The dye doesn't seem to contain a foaming agent that you work into a lather before rinsing it out in the shower, like the L'Oreal did. I don't know if that's better or worse, but I haven't noticed a major difference.

    7) The only slight downside I see is that the Nice 'N Easy doesn't come with the tube of conditioner that is the best part of any box of home hair dye. This isn't a huge deal for me, because I never use those up before I get a new one, and thus I have a bit of a stockpile.

    SO. To sum up: less dye on my hair for less time means fewer fumes to sting my eyes and make me start worrying about hurting the baby. The lower price is just a bonus. Plus, I've been using just touch-up packs for four months now, and I haven't noticed any weird stripeyness from not dyeing my whole head in between. I call that a win.

    (Edited to add parenthetical explanations for sensitive, dirty-minded types.)

    June 03, 2010

    Lisa: label me

    One of the things I love about my new closet office is that every drawer and box has a little slot for a label. I had Sarah come over one day and help me type up some labels, old-school-style, with typewriters and white cardstock.

    (Please excuse the poor photography and the grimy handle from the exactly Nora-height drawers.)

    Some of the labels are typed with the IBM Selectric that I made the oilcloth cover for. Here's how it looked before it got cuteified:

    I found a few never-before-posted pictures of Nora playing with/on my Selectrics, right before she cut the side of her face open on the black one (and earned the nickname 'Scarface'). Needless to say, the black Selectric got sold and the other one got put away in the craft room very quickly.

    The script labels were typed with another machine I bought at the same time--a Smith Corona SL 480, which is an adorable small travel-friendly typewriter with a snap-on cover. I haven't found much of a use for my typewriters other than a few small crafts like this one, unfortunately. Ideas?

    April 26, 2010

    Lisa: Lovin' a follow-up

    Maybe you remember my rant about the McDonald's Playplace last May. Nora and I stopped at McDonald's after our library visit today, and I let her play for a bit while I gathered some pictorial evidence for you.

    Here's the ludicrous evacuation procedure I mentioned:

    In case my camera phone quality is too substandard, here's the exact text.

    EVACUATING A PLAYPLACE

    TO ENSURE SAFETY OF EVERYONE WHEN EVACUATING A PLAYPLACE

    1. Manager will get childrens [sic] attention.
    2. Manager will instruct children to leave play equipment.
    3. All parents should wait for their children and should not enter the play equipment.
    4. Manager will complete a circuit of all play areas to ensure all are clear of children.
    5. Everyone is to move to the main doors and exit to assemble point. [sic]

    I don't think I need to say again how ineffective I think step 2 would be in an emergency. I am curious about step 4. Are prospective managers asked to perform this circuit of play areas during the interview process, to make sure they have the necessary flexibility (and diminutive size) to navigate the little gerbil tubes? If they're over four feet tall, I think they might have a hard time--and the Hamburglar agrees with me.

    Last, and possibly grossest, is the "record" of past Playplace sanitations. The last time someone who had a grease pencil sanitized this particular play area was in 2008. TWO YEARS AGO. Do you think it was sanitized again in January of '09, and the hapless chemical-sprayer just rubbed out bits of the old numbers when he realized he'd forgotten a writing implement? I would like to believe so. Especially considering my daughter just crawled around in there for half an hour.

    April 09, 2010

    Lisa: she said/she said

    Arguments I have had with my daughter in the last week:

    • Brains make you smart vs brains make you strong
    • If we had another baby, would it be Nora's little brother, or Nora's son?
    • Whether it's pirates or vampires that suck blood

    So far I think we have both only succeeded in becoming more convinced that we are each correct. And so it begins.

    February 06, 2010

    Lisa: book character softies

    When I saw this adorable dollhouse created for homemade versions of Lauren Child's Charlie and Lola on sweet sweet life (found, I think, via loobylu), I knew Nora had to have her own Charlie and Lola dolls.

    From there, things sort of spiraled out of control, and she had to have dolls of ALL of her favorite book characters. Luckily, it was harder than I thought to find suitable illustrations of the characters standing alone in a way that made sense for being cut out of context and played with, so the pool was limited a bit. As you can see, we also ended up with George and Martha, the Powerpuff Girls, Cynthia Rylant's Hansel and Gretel, the No No Yes Yes baby, Alice, Eloise, and Edith.

    I scanned the images from Nora's books and printed them onto iron-on sheets with my hand-me-down inkjet printer. I love printable iron-ons, and I always keep a few packs on hand for spontaneous crafting. Anyway, I ironed the images onto some off-white cotton duck I already had--actually some old curtains from our first apartment--and cut matching backs out of a set of coordinating fat quarters from JoAnn's. You can kind of see the backing fabrics in this photo:

    Nora's still a bit young for her dollhouse, but I think the more she gets into it, the more these little softies will get used. And they're so easy and inexpensive to make, I could always add in a few new ones (maybe even mini family members?) to keep things interesting. Plus, I like the idea of incorporating her favorite characters but retaining the feel of a homemade, non-commercial toy.

    February 01, 2010

    Lisa: Who will tell the internet these things if I don't?

    1) In roughly an hour I am seeing an ENT about the possibility of getting my tonsils out. I have to admit, I am somewhat terrified. But...if it means that I get strep less often (or even maybe NEVER), then it will be worth it.

    2) A lot of things have been happening lately, and I've been crossing things off my list (yay!), but I haven't gotten up the energy to actually blog about any of them. SO. I have just decided to attempt to post every single day of the month of February. I'm sure the one reader we have left will be shocked. Plus, depending on how much Lortab they put me on for my (possible) tonsillectomy, things could get a little crazy. At the very least, there will be a lot of drool. Something to look forward to.

    3) Dripped pie filling had made a smoky mess in the bottom of my oven, so today I decided to run the self-clean cycle. It's been going for three hours so far, and everything in my house smells and/or tastes like burning. My eyes feel like burning. Nora actually asked to go down for a nap early--I'm guessing in self-defense. Moral: put a drip pan under the stupid pie next time, goofus.

    4) I am presenting for your enjoyment photographic proof of my billboard doppelganger. She can be found on Highland Drive, directly east of the Home Depot, advertising the Generations Project on BYU TV. Uncanny, isn't it? I, for one, am completely freaked out.

    October 08, 2009

    Lisa: Craft Lake City review

    I find it's most helpful to review an event two months after it happens, so that everyone who might once have cared has already forgotten about it. That's why I'm telling you now how much I loved Craft Lake City!

    The craft booths were everything I wished the disappointing shopping at Swiss Days and Peach Days would be. Instead of seeing the same vinyl cutouts and magnet boards at every booth, there were tons of alternative and/or slightly subversive crafts, and fun and unusual fabrics galore.

    Here are photos of my (reasonably priced) booty:

    Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

    1. A skirt for Nora for next summer, from Noelle O Designs.

    2. A horse finger puppet from Nifty Kidstuff, which has the cutest details--like a bright green lining to match the bridle.

    3. My mom shopped Nifty Kidstuff too, and found Nora a doll that she can practice fasteners on. Nora named her Betsy Buttons, after this book. (Seriously, this girl makes so many cute things. How much do I want this little fabric sewing machine for Nora?)

    4. Grandma also bought Nora some cute hair ties with fabric-covered buttons, but unfortunately they didn't have any maker-identifying packaging.

    5. I had a hard time tracking down these ribbon-covered hair clips online (they're just marked 'am'), but I think the buttons covered with Japanese fabrics are darling, and they inspired me to make my own ribbon clips.

    6. This little yellow papier-mache bird was an impulse buy at Beehive Bazaar, and I love having him on my mantel.

    I also loved the fascinators and headbands from Its The Little Things, but I didn't have enough cash to buy one at Craft Lake City. Instead, I grabbed one of her cards and bought a hat for Jillian's funeral on Etsy later.

    The family rockabilly band that was so cute was Mad Max and the Wild Ones.

    Here's more of Nora enjoying them:

    Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

    Anyway, I hope that Craft Lake City becomes an annual event, and that they have even more awesome booths next year. If I had one suggestion to offer, it would be to the crafters whose great wares were for sale: make sure your packaging is branded, and list your website right on it if you have one. That way, the love can keep going long after the festival is done.

    September 14, 2009

    Lisa: Chocolate Blues

    While I was on tour with the Tab Choir, I visited a tiny yarn shop in Independence, Missouri. I bought a skein of pretty yarn as a souvenir, with the idea of knitting something for Nora when I got back home.

    One skein isn't really a whole lot of yarn to work with, but it was just the right amount for one of the adorable hats from this book. I finished it off with pompoms made out of some of my leftover Ribby Cardi yarn for a little contrast.

    Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

    I know, making a winter hat in July seems incongruous, and the photos of it on my sundress-clad daughter look ridiculous, but this was a quick and fun little project that got me kind of excited about knitting again. Maybe someday I'll even sew the zipper into my otherwise-totally-finished Ribby Cardi!

    May 14, 2009

    Lisa: Lovin' it?

    There is a matter that has been lying heavily upon my mind for some time. I think it is time to share this matter with you, and to use your responses as a balm for my troubled soul.

    I HATE the McDonalds Playland.

    It is horrible. Let me describe it for the uninitiated among you. The McDonalds Playland is a giant network of brightly colored plastic pipes. Some of these pipes lead to dead ends with clear plexiglass windows, while others lead up to larger, room-like openings or enclosed, spiral pipe-slides. There is usually one entrance to the entire structure, with a bank of cubbies next to it for kids' shoes. The whole mess is completely enclosed with a combination of plexiglass walls, locked chain-link-and-PVC-pipe gates, and nylon netting.

    Maybe that doesn't sound so bad, but let me describe for you just a few of the problems.

    1) Half the kids in there are carrying grubby little handfuls of soggy cheeseburger, or half-eaten Chicken McNuggets. These get dragged and squished along the sides and floor of the pipes during play (not to mention the kid with the overflowing diaper dragging his pungent little butt down each tube). Now, these pipes are kid-sized, and adults are not allowed inside the Playplace. You KNOW the employees aren't squeezing in there after hours, wiping down those pipes with any kind of regularity. The whole thing might be "sanitized" once or twice a year, but that's not doing much against day-to-day grimings.

    2) Once your kid is past the entrance, there is no possibility for adult intervention of any kind. Did she climb too high, and is now unsure how to get back down? You'll just have to wait for her to stop crying and figure it out. Did some bigger kids corner her at the end of the blue pipe and start menacing her with their broken-off ice cream cones? I hope she remembers those self-defense lessons you've been giving her.

    3) Forget getting your child out of the Playland before they're good and ready. They know you can't come in there after them, and they take advantage of that. There is always at least one mom outside the entrance of the Playland, hands on hips, half bent over and calling into the pipe in her sternest voice: "DEVIN! DEVIN! YOU COME OUT OF THERE THIS INSTANT!" There is a sign posted outside the structure detailing emergency procedures, which are basically that the parents are supposed to stay out of the structure, while McDonalds management "gets the children's attention and instructs them to leave the Playland." Right. I'm sure the kids will see giant flames through the plexiglass, hear an unfamiliar voice through a loudspeaker urging them to exit, and will calmly comply. None of them will get scared and huddle in the most hard-to-reach places.

    4) Guaranteed, one kid is scaling the nylon netting on the outside of the Playland, while another kid is yelling, "Mo-om! The sign says No Climbing [which it patently does] and that boy is climbing!" There is no choice for the second kid's mother but to yell back, "Are you that boy's mother? No. He has a mother." Must we play out this tired scene again and again?

    5) Please don't get me started on the aura of plastic-generated electrostatic that surrounds the whole place.

    Nora, of course, loves it. Even when I have to pick pieces of broken Happy Meal toys out of her chubby little knees afterward.

    April 23, 2009

    Lisa: little bunny foo-foo

    It's hard for me to believe that Nora is old enough to notice what holiday it is and if she gets a present or not--but this Easter I had to face the facts. Since Blake is pretty adamant that Nora not eat candy (and I'm not actively encouraging candy either), I wanted to make her something special that would take her mind off the lack of chocolate eggs.

    This little bunny and her blanket are made from this mmmcrafts pattern, and are sewn from some of Nora's outgrown baby clothes. I used felt, embroidery floss, thread, and batting that I already had, so the only thing I had to buy was the pattern itself. My dad made the cradle for me when I was a baby, and my mom brought it up from Spring City so that I could pass it on to Nora. Tender, right? I mean, I'm pretty much the best mom ever, wouldn't you say?

    Unfortunately, my gift was completely overshadowed by the gigantic pink plush Care Bear Nora's great-aunt bought her at a secondhand store. Nora tackled that thing and rolled around with it, giggling and giggling. Ah, well. Maybe this sleepy little homemade bunny will grow on her.

    (Oh, and if you think that I copied Angie's wedding colors, then all I can say is thank goodness I have people with really good taste to mooch off of.)

    April 04, 2009

    Sarah: Place settings

    Dear Little Nora Bean,

    While you and your mom were in China, your Dad missed you very much. During a cleaning spree, he set up a few play stations for you: a cooking spot, and a work station just like your mom's.

    I think he might have missed you.

    March 20, 2009

    Sarah: These Boots

    Nora, in addition to being charming and extremely smart, has a penchant for wearing grown-up clothes. On one occasion, she, like the rest of us, was coveting Marci's boots. Unfortunately her legs were not long enough for her feet to reach the ground when she wore them, so Marci helped her walk around the living room.

    This is why I cannot wait for this little girl to return from China.

    February 23, 2009

    Lisa: Blood, Sweat, and Tears

    Given Angie's idea of different angles for each day and my current penchant for Photo Booth, I thought I'd try out Movie Mondays. Sarah's not as jazzed about the idea, but I'm hoping I can win her over.

    Here's today's offering--I think you'll agree that what I lack in talent, I make up for in enthusiasm. If you've seen me dancing, you know this already.


    January 20, 2009

    Lisa: no means no

    Dear Walgreens cashier,

    Please do not expose my one-year-old daughter to the sight of your plush caveman singing Do It Like They Do on the Discovery Channel. Similarly, hide away your mechanical puppy holding a valentine heart and offering an inappropriately sexual R&B message. In fact, maybe stay away from the animatronics altogether. She's saying "no" for a reason.

    Sincerely,

    Common Sense

    January 10, 2009

    Lisa: advanced

    Lisa: Are you teaching her how to juggle?
    Blake: Yep! Well, I'm trying to. She's totally going to impress all her kindergarten friends.
    Lisa: Yeah she is. And her teacher.
    Blake: She'll impress EVERYONE. Except Dave. Dave'll just be like, "I've been juggling since I was three."

    November 05, 2008

    Lisa: change

    After Nora and I rocked the vote in the freezing rain, we needed a treat. Just because she ate some of hers in the cart at the grocery store doesn't make it any less celebratory.

    Don't worry, Nora's Obama onesie was safely covered up by her hoodie while we were at the polling location, as per Utah's anti-electioneering polling place rules.

    I'm thrilled that Obama won so handily, and I'm really proud that the race was so close in Salt Lake County. WE DID THAT.

    I'm scared, however, that over 20,000 people in Utah think that Super Dell should be governor.

    July 29, 2008

    Lisa: wait for it...

    I have so much to tell you, Internet! I've been...

  • Riding my bike in a parade

  • Falling in love with the Osmonds

  • Watching Nora take her first unassisted steps

  • Visiting an old friend and her brand new baby in the hospital
  • and so much more, really. Unfortunately, I should be spending my at-home computer time getting caught up on the accounting work I've been putting off. The only new content I have to offer is this ridiculous picture, made here. (Thanks for getting me through that last few minutes of the workday, angry chicken! How did you know I was looking for a way to more widely distribute photos of myself?)

    See you next week!

    July 11, 2008

    Sarah: A Year in Review

    In the past year, I have:
    1. Gotten within a semester of college graduation.
    2. Stood outside the hospital room while my niece was born, then held her on the first day of her life and countless days since.
    3. Learned how to use an old hand-printing press.
    4. Gained a new sister. An amazing new sister.
    5. Traveled through Europe.
    6. Bought a new (to me) car.
    7. Learned to drive a manual transmission, just about burning through my clutch in the process.
    8. Given up the apartment where I lived for almost two years.
    9. Lived with my awesome family (Don't worry, guys, I promise that I'm looking for a new place).
    10. Become much closer (whether she liked it or not) to a great friend.
    11. Baked and cooked. A lot.
    12. Cracked jokes with an albino.

    It was a great year. One of my favorites yet. Thanks for being there with me.

    June 23, 2008

    Sarah: Baby Genius

    Lisa: Nora knocked over my soda, then bumped her head.
    Sarah: Oh no. Everything okay again?
    L: zxddwfrc'/r44;r5555555555555555555rrr455=4=
    L: km
    S: Hi Nora!
    L: liTTLE hack er

    L: DE AW W
    S: ...

    Lisa may not respond because she is now offline.

    Lisa is now online.

    L: As I was saying, friggin hacker baby hid my dock, then quit messenger. I have no idea how.

    June 20, 2008

    Lisa: Friday, Fries, and Frolf

    Last week, Nora and I had 45 minutes to kill before meeting my mom to shop for a Father's Day gift, so we decided to finally try the zucchini fries I've had my eye on at Woody's Drive-In.

    After we got our food, we drove to Creekside Park for a picnic. Here's Nora, eating a quesadilla and trying to charm the nearby kids into coming over and making friends. It worked.

    My raspberry shake was really good, and the zucchini fries were okay for a novelty food. They're strips of zucchini, battered and deep-fried--kind of like a heavier, wetter version of vegetable tempura.

    There was some kind of frisbee golf tournament happening at the park; at least, I hope so. About fifty men in their twenties and early thirties--the majority of them unfortunately shirtless--were just hanging around, throwing frisbees at poles at 3:00 on a Friday afternoon. If it wasn't a tournament, I am terrified for my generation. Don't worry, though, I documented some of the half-naked frolfers for your viewing pleasure:

    May 16, 2008

    Lisa: Hand-drawn Friday

    We had our Bon Voyage party for Sarah and Marci at the Crown, and I felt the occasion called for a little festive headwear. I did an image search for some of the famous landmarks they'll be seeing in Europe, and drew simplified versions onto colored paper. Voila! Crowns at the Crown. It's not the first time, but it might be one of the best.

    Canal houses in Amsterdam

    Parliament building in Budapest

    London's Tower Bridge

    Tyn Church in Prague

    Roman Coliseum

    Hairy Coo from Scotland

    I miss you guys!

    May 05, 2008

    Lisa: headboard

    The other day, I started vaguely considering a minor bedroom-revamping, and I priced some upholstered headboards online. That morphed into looking for instructions on making your own upholstered headboard, and then suddenly all the raw materials were at my house, waiting for me to do something with them. Funny how that happens.

    Anyway, one day while Nora was down for a nap, I brought the baby monitor outside, dragged the chipboard and foam out of the garage, and got started.

    I got the foam pieced together and glued by the time she woke up. I hadn't really thought about how I was going to glue the foam together, but I remembered from Cockeyed that contact cement might work. I wasn't sure what contact cement was, and I knew I didn't have any, so I googled it. Hmmm. That container looks kind of like blue glue, doesn't it? I dug the blue glue out of Blake's bag of sprinkler stuff and used that--it's stinky, but it worked fine. It didn't take much to get the edges to stick to each other.

    For the headboard's arch, I traced a template I had found online, printed out, and taped together. After I had the shape marked, I used Marci's RotoZip saw to cut it out. This is the perfect tool for this kind of application. The RotoZip is basically a drill, but with a little guard added around the drill bit, and an extra handle on the side for stability. you put the guard right up against whatever you're sawing, and then move the drill wherever you want, making a freehand cut. So, it's not intimidating to use for anyone who has used a drill before. It doesn't make a perfectly smooth or straight cut (especially in a material of varying content, like chipboard), but that's OK when you're planning on covering your cut with thick layers of foam and fabric, and you just need the right overall shape. Thanks, Marci!

    Meanwhile, Nora was being a superchamp, yelling back at the saw and thinking we were playing an awesome new game.

    Once I had the wood cut out, I wrestled it on top of the foam and traced it with a sharpie. I used my trusty electric kitchen knife to cut the foam. That's what the instructions said to use, and when the lady at JoAnn's used an electric knife to cut the length I needed, I figured it was the way to go.

    Nora thought the knife was almost as fun as the saw.

    After I brought Nora inside and got her set up with some toys, I laid out my fabric, right side down, and lugged the wood and foam inside and centered the foam on the fabric. I trimmed the extra fabric a bit.

    I got some big covered button kits (the only kind sold at JoAnn's) and made some buttons with the scraps I had trimmed off. I pinned the fabric loosely to the back of the foam, flipped it over, and figured out where I wanted to place the buttons. Then I sewed the buttons through the fabric and foam, and through another button on the back side to keep the thread from pulling through the foam. Here's the thing. In my experience, tufting with buttons is harder than you think it should be. For one thing, if you're using a covered button, the loop that your thread has to go through is on the back of the button. If your button is pulled into the foam really deeply, how do you get your needle back through that loop for another pass? It doesn't seem like one thickness of thread would be strong enough to keep the button tight against all that foam, either. And the first time you're pushing the needle through, it's tricky (and hurts your fingers) to push the needle in as far as you can while simultaneously compressing the foam to get the needle to poke through the other side far enough so that you can grab the tip and pull it out. I am convinced that the pros have a different set of tools to use when they're doing deep tufting--possibly including a very large needle, very strong thread, and some kind of button system with an open-faced (?) button on each side of the foam, which is easy to pull tight and allows for a decorative covered button to be snapped on afterward. Anyway, my buttons aren't as deep as I'd like, but they look OK.

    Once I had the buttons sewn in, I unpinned the fabric from the back of the foam, laid the chipboard down on top of the foam, and stretched the fabric as tightly as I could around the back of the board, stapling as I went. In a few places I had to pull the staples out, smooth things out a bit, and staple again, but it worked pretty well. I'm really glad I believed the part of the instructions that says to glue the board to the foam ONE INCH BELOW the top of the foam, even though they are cut to the same size. This allows the top of the foam to curve back around the board, making a nice round edge at the top of the headboard, instead of a slope ending with the hard edge of the board. With the headboard being so big and heavy, it was hard to get the fabric pulled tightly enough while keeping things smooth. Maybe enlist a strong person to help.

    Speaking of strong people, I got Blake to help me prop up the headboard above our bed so that I could take this extremely anticlimactic picture of the final product. I don't know what's going on with the focus and the lighting and the colors here, but I'll post some prettier pictures when the whole revamping is done.

    foam: $40
    fabric: $18
    button kits: $10
    chipboard: $8
    Everything else I already had or made Sarah dig out of her storage unit.
    Total: $86

    If I were going to do this over again, I'd use a lighter but still rigid material (MDF?) instead of the chipboard and a slightly thinner foam covered with a thin layer of quilt batting to soften the edges of the foam. I think I'd also cut the foam a bit larger than the backing, so that it would wrap around the edges more. I'd definitely try to figure out some way to get the buttons sewn in more deeply. All in all, though, I'm happy with it--and it was certainly cheaper than buying one readymade.

    March 28, 2008

    Sarah: LOLisa

    Because we like to join internet phenomena long after their "best before" date, Lisa and I (and Mallory and Marci) have long joked about LOLCats, their ridiculousness, the mystery surrounding their charm, and so on. I suppose I've already hinted at this schtick here.

    Perhaps because we'd already joked about it, a string of emails from Lisa first confused, and then utterly charmed me. See, i could just picture my adorable sister giggling uncontrollably over her keyboard as she wrote these messages. You should imagine a similar image. It greatly enhances the experience when you know how much she was cracking herself up:

    Date: March 5, 6:40 pm
    Subject: You can thank me later.
    Body: LolCat Bible

    Date: March 5, 7:48 pm
    Subject: I don't think there are enough thank yous in the world.
    Body:

    Date: March 5, 7:52 pm
    Subject: Obviously this is a sickness.
    Body:

    And then, weeks later, the best email yet:

    Date: March 27, 9:55 pm
    Subject: LOLNora
    Body: Nora has a message for you.

    Awesome.

    March 03, 2008

    Lisa: Babies for Obama

    Since Nora had so much fun voting for Obama on Super Tuesday, I thought she might like a campaign shirt of her very own. I designed a graphic to look like his other swag and had Zazzle (who I've (used previously) print it up for me. I got it a little big, so that she can wear it this summer when the election's closer.

    Don't be jealous. You can buy one too! I think I get like a dollar for each onesie sold--and I'll donate any proceeds to the campaign.

    Zazzle's changed their site around, so here's the fancy new link to my gallery:

    February 18, 2008

    Sarah: Another Goodbye

    It's out with the old here at Sarah's Basement. The insurance totalled my car after my accident. After spending about an hour emptying out all of my stuff (I didn't realize how much I'd managed to keep in that car. I am reformed now.), it was ready to be towed away.

    Now if the tow company would only remember to come pick it up, I'll be ready to move on.

    Oh, and something I discovered: after three years, a window cling won't take kindly to being removed.

    Oops.

    In other news, my niece is adorable.

    And very advanced. She can already use a straw.

    February 05, 2008

    Lisa: we voted

    Nora and I voted for Obama. What about you?

    November 07, 2007

    Lisa: accessory clips

    When I hung up the letter hooks in Nora's bedroom, it started an addiction that could only be fed by adding more hooks. Blake hung some little brass hooks in my craft closet for me that are now holding gift bags, and I ordered three more hooks from Restorers (through Amazon) for Nora's room.

    I knew I wanted to hang her blessing dress and the gorgeous handmade blanket she got from her anonymous "secret grandma," but that left one empty hook and a long narrow space in the middle. With Sarah's help, I brainstormed an accessory holder.

    Here's the result:

    I'm really happy with how it turned out, and the whole thing took less than two hours to make. Endless variations are possible to suit your needs and tastes. Instructions and the materials I used are after the jump, if you're interested.

    Materials:

  • 1/3 of a yard of pink cotton with a print of tiny white circles, found in the quilting section

  • 1 yard of dark green satin ribbon with decorative edge

  • 1 yard of light green grosgrain ribbon

  • 1 package of silver curtain clips

  • 1/3 of a yard of thin batting, which I already had in my fabric stash

  • a piece of stiff cardboard I had lying around
  • green thread
  • Steps:

    1. I cut the cardboard to the width I wanted, getting rid of the bent-up corners in the process. Then I set the cardboard on my fabric and cut around it, leaving plenty of extra fabric to wrap around the back.

    2. I pinned the dark green ribbon down the center of the right side of the fabric, and just stitched right down the center with the sewing machine. Easy peasy.

    3. The next step was a little bit tricky for me, since I'm not really a good spatial thinker. I centered the cardboard on top of the fabric and ribbon, and marked the top center and bottom center of the cardboard with a pin. Then I messed around with the clips, the light green ribbon, and some pins for a while, until they looked right. The idea is that the light ribbon threads through the clip rings, which are held in place by one pin through all three layers in the center of the loop. These pins will be replaced with stitching in the next step.

    4. Next I replaced the pins with stitching. I slid the rings on each side away from the pin, carefully removed the pin without letting the ribbon slip, and backtacked over the light green ribbon a bunch of times.

    5. I cut a piece of batting a bit smaller than my fabric.

    6. Then I plugged in my trusty hot glue gun, and while I was waiting for it to heat up I ironed my fabric so the final product would be nice and smooth. Placing the fabric right-side down, and the batting centered on top of it, and the cardboard centered on top of that, I folded the two ends over the cardboard and glued them down. I took special care to make sure the ribbon stayed centered on the cardboard, and pulled each end of the ribbon tight while pressing it into the glue. Don't burn yourself--hot glue hurts like a mother.

    7. Folding the corners like wrapping a present, I pulled the sides in tight and glued them down, too. While the glue was still warm and slidy, I turned the project over to the right side and made sure things looked smooth and not puckery from the front. Then I took the leftover light green ribbon and glued it in a loop to the back side of the top edge. If I'd wanted to get fancy, I could have cut a panel from the leftover fabric, ironed the edges under, and glued it to the back of the project to cover the empty cardboard and rough edges. Nora was getting hungry, so I bagged that idea, but I might still do that sometime if it starts bugging me. It would definitely look more professional and finished that way.

    8. Ta-DA! I used five of the curtain clips for optimum future flexibility. I'm only using three of the clips now (see the top picture above), but in the future I might want to display different items, and I wanted to be able to accommodate various sizes.

    September 19, 2007

    Lisa: all you need is love

    Nora of mine,

    When I hold you and look into your eyes, sometimes I feel a surge of confidence and empowerment. Sometimes I feel a debilitating sense of self-doubt and inadequacy. But every single time, I feel love unlike anything I have ever felt before. I'm pretty sure that that love means I will do everything in my power to take care of you.

    We'll be okay, baby.

    September 11, 2007

    Sarah: Aunt

    Dear Internet,
    I am sorry I didn't visit you all day today. I had to go to the hospital to meet someone.

    Love,
    Aunt Sarah

    August 30, 2007

    Lisa: Can you dig it?

    If we lent you our VHS copy of Shaft, will you let me know? I was totally planning to pack that bad boy in my hospital bag.

    August 28, 2007

    Lisa: In which I try to bore you to death with completely insignificant details.

    For better or worse, the nursery is pretty much put together! It feels good to have that task done. The polka-dotted fabric bin on the lower shelf of the white table holds board books and tub books. You can see the Boppy pillow hanging out on the seat of Blake's grandpa's rocker.

    The dresser is full of baby clothes and linens that have been washed with Dreft, folded and sorted by size, and put into labeled drawers. The IKEA frog is sitting in a Bumbo baby seat next to George and Martha and a sweet little baby sock sorting thingie I found at HomeGoods. I made the print over the dresser in my letterpress class--it features my favorite quote from Peter Pan.

    The top two shelves of the bookcase are full of baby supplies, and the bottom shelf is picture books. The art is two pages from an advance copy of You Were Loved Before You Were Born, written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Karen Barbour. The book is due out in January.

    Under the window you can see the gift Marci got us--the first baby item Blake and I picked out together. Above the crib are the letter hooks I talked about here. Since I took these pictures, I got some big clear totes at Target to go under the crib: one for extra diapers, one for blankets, and one for stuffed animals. We're still waiting for our Sophie bumper and crib skirt to arrive from Pottery Barn.

    The light must have been a bit different for this photo, because the wall color here looks closer to how it looks in real life. Anyway, you can see we've been messing around with the toys on top of the bookcase and on the shelf above it. We swapped out the fancy (and arguably creepy-looking) dolls I had when I was younger for the Cabbage Patch Garden Fairies I adopted in college. And of course we had to dig out my Boo doll and press her belly a bunch of times. The soccer-playing Build-a-Bear was a gift to Blake from the girls he coached one year, and the other one is Olivia, who Blake gave me for our anniversary three years ago.

    TA-DA! She'd better friggin' love it.

    Sarah: Brain Dump, List Edition

    Wanting:

  • a windowsill herb garden
  • cute galoshes. Oh, and don't you think that Lisa's baby needs some too? I'm so glad we agree.

  • a clear umbrella. To match my galoshes, obviously. (via Mighty Goods)

    Soaking up like a sponge:

  • the perfect just-before-fall weather.
  • the Real Men of Genius radio ads. They always crack me up.
  • and the Whopper Family commercials. I don't know what broke in my brain.
  • knowledge. Because I'm back at school.

    Eagerly anticipating:

  • the Birthing.
  • a road trip.
  • Peach Days, the second most delicious festival in Utah. The first is Raspberry Days in Bear Lake. Mmmmm...

    Plotting:

  • the demise of the gigantic spiders that are taking over my apartment. I will poison you soon, my pretties.
  • some letterpress cards to be listed in our long-neglected Etsy shop. I'm excited. You should be too.

  • July 31, 2007

    Lisa: hooked on phonics

    Back in June I mentioned that I bought some letter hooks for the baby's room. I got them hung on the wall over the crib soon after that post, but it's taken me a month and a half to download the pictures from my camera. AT LONG LAST, here are the hooks in their natural habitat:

    Here's a closeup of the hooks. I want to get some prettier hangers, but these work for now.

    And this is why everyone keeps asking me if I'm having twins:

    July 16, 2007

    Lisa: I just don't know how to feel

    I just got poked in the stomach repeatedly by a 13-year-old boy.

    Him: (POKE.) Are you pregnant?
    Me: Ha! Yes.
    Him: (POKE. POKE.) Can you help me on the computer?

    July 07, 2007

    Lisa: you can have what's left of me

    A little bird named Sarah told me that SOME people have been complaining that I never blog anymore. That is because I have forced my usually razor sharp brain to become banal and empty.

    There are important things I could be thinking (and blogging) about, but I choose not to. Delivering a baby? Avoid. Breast-feeding, or worse, breast PUMPING? Avoid. Finding a way to reduce my work hours? Figuring out a childcare plan? Changing my entire life to become a parent? Avoid, avoid, avoid. Why? Because these things are simultaneously the most stressful (to me) and most boring (to you) subjects in the universe.

    Here are a few things that are left among the cobwebs. Worth blogging about? Maybe I'll let you decide.

  • Finding a comfortable position on the couch while watching a movie was the highlight of my week--possibly my month.

  • I spaced out in front of the bathroom mirror at work thinking about my pretty, pretty hair.

  • I have a constant nagging fear of not getting my projects for class done in time.

  • I have found my true nemesis, and that nemesis is ants. Ants are the zombies of the insect world. No matter how many you kill, there are always more ants. No matter how many possible entrances you find and spray full of ant poison, the ants find a new weak point to breach. You can't demoralize them by killing a bunch of their friends. If you break the trail and clean with bleach, the ants will not shrug their shoulders in confusion and head home. But I digress.

  • I bought a cruiser, which I can't ride until after the baby's born and can't tote her around on/behind until she's a year old. BUT IT IS SO PRETTY! (I'll post pictures once I put the fenders on!)

  • Celgene is flying Blake first class to New Jersey to interview for a job.

  • I have noticed I'm not alone in thinking So You Think You Can Dance is the best show on television, and Mary Murphy is one of the best things about it. You can see my nerdy boyfriend Benji from last season dancing with Xtina in the awesome Candyman video.

  • June 19, 2007

    Lisa: state of the nation

    I kind of can't believe how much bigger my belly has gotten in the last three months. (for comparison purposes)

  • Baby - 14 1/2 inches long and kicking like crazy. She hates my other organs for some reason--maybe she feels they threaten her precious uterus.

  • Body - I embody womanhood. Right?? RIGHT????? I have to keep telling myself that.

  • Hair - I got a hideous haircut before we went to California. If only I had read this part of my new favorite book: "A very pregnant woman who wants to cut her hair is not really looking for a new hairdo, she is looking for a new, nonpregnant, look, and I'm afraid that's too tall an order for a haircut." Live and learn, I guess.

  • Puke - Only sometimes when I brush my teeth.

  • Heels/Lust for Life - Check. It's become a point of pride now. I MIGHT have gone to a movie last week wearing scrubs, sneakers and a hoodie, but those reports are unconfirmed.

  • Lisa: upping our Google count for "knobs"

    I've been working on painting our hand-me-down crib and dresser white to match the new side table for the baby's room, and I wanted to get some knobs for the drawers that would tie everything together. I decided on some cut glass knobs from Anthropologie, and while I was there I couldn't resist these letter hooks.

    I am afraid buying decorative knobs might be addicting. Now I want to replace all the drawer pulls and doorknobs in our house.

    May 08, 2007

    Lisa: what to expect when you're expecting a vampire baby

    Blake and I watched two episodes of Heroes last night, which brought up some very important issues that had to be resolved before we could go to sleep.

    1. If you could have any mutant power, what power would you choose?
    2. Are Magneto's powers stupid?
    3. If the baby could have any mutant power, what would you want it to be?
    4. If the baby could be any horror-movie creature, what would you want it to be?

    These questions were tricky to come to a consensus on, particularly because Blake answered in this highly irritating fashion:

    1. Magneto's powers.
    2. No. They are AWESOME.
    3. The power to make sound waves into light. (I was able to bargain him into controlling the weather.)
    4. A vampire.

    April 23, 2007

    Lisa: It's a girl!

    And I think she likes karaoke.

    April 15, 2007

    Lisa: help

    I have a couple of things I need to get done in the next few weeks.

  • dig the grass out of all our flower beds and fill up the empty space with bark chips

  • paint the downstairs bathroom

  • get the paint I bought for the sewing room re-tinted (since I was obviously smoking crack when I purchased bright coral pink) and paint the sewing room

  • touch up all the white trim and ceilings in the rooms we've painted so far

  • find out what the baby is (we've got our fingers crossed for a human boy or girl)

  • figure out what the crap is going on with maternity leave (Is six weeks enough?)

  • sign up for a childbirth class

  • deposit checks in three different bank accounts at two separate banks

  • miraculously fix the DVD burner in my laptop so that I can burn a copy of the prenatal yoga video I checked out from the library and now owe $8 in fines on

  • pay library fines

  • find somewhere to swim that I can afford AND that isn't gross
  • April 12, 2007

    Lisa: research

    The labor stories of other women are alternately hilarious, reassuring, and terrifying. Here are a few I've read lately:

    Mighty Girl
    Superhero
    Dooce
    Fussy

    Here's what I know:
    1) Women have been doing this for thousands of years. My body is made to do this.
    2) I will be giving birth in a hospital, not at home with a midwife whose idea of an amenity is shaping the umbilical cord into a heart.
    3) The epidural is my friend.
    4) Blake and Sarah and my mom and dad got me through the end of the marathon. They can get me through this.

    April 02, 2007

    Lisa: Internet, work your magic.

    It seems like all the books I can find on decorating a baby's room or making baby-related crafts are super cheesy and overdone, syrupy-sweet, or just plain hideous. Itty-Bitty Hats is an exception, and I can't wait to get started on the pumpkin hat.

    Can anyone recommend other titles for me that won't bring back the morning sickness?

    March 31, 2007

    Lisa: office, redux

    Since the office next to our bedroom is eventually going to become the baby's room, last weekend we moved the bookcases and desk downstairs to the family room. I was worried it would feel too crowded down there, but actually I think it's an improvement--it's looking like a real room instead of just a few stray furniture rejects in a weirdly long space. Here's what the family room looks like now:

    In the first and last pictures there, you can see a big set of white louvred doors behind the black office chair. A while ago, with inspiration from various design magazines, catalogs, and books on organization, I made the inside of the closet (which is quite deep and included outlets for power and telephone lines) into an office. It's not as pretty as the mini-office I linked, but it's functional and I can close the doors on the whole thing to make the room look neater. I do all my work for Concert Black from there. Before and after:

    With the furniture out of the way, it was a lot easier to repaint the office/nursery. The old paint color was like Kermit after a hearty meal of radioactive waste, and we don't want the baby to go blind or anything, so we painted over it with a much softer, more minty green I had already bought for the downstairs hallway. An improvement, don't you think? And I still like how the green looks against the other paint colors in the nearby rooms and hall.

    Thanks, Blake and Sarah, for all your hard work and help!

    March 17, 2007

    Lisa: checking in

  • baby - lemon-sized

  • uterus - grapefruit-sized

  • breasts - two glorious California oranges


  • ass - don't ask

  • belly - sticking out even more than usual (Yep, that's a maternity dress.)


  • puke - less frequent

  • heels - holding steady


  • lust for life - intact (If you can still bring yourself to accessorize, all is not lost.)

  • February 28, 2007

    Lisa: There is someone here inside

    Until recently, my family owned a Scrabble game with light pink letter tiles. A special collector's edition? No. You see, in the early 1980s, Scrabble was sold in a dark red fabric-covered box. The letter tiles were plain wood, just like always. One day I was doing whatever it is kids do to entertain themselves, when I felt a vague need to pee. Sure that this inconvenient urge would eventually just go away, I remained ensconced on the throne I had built by cushioning the Scrabble box with a decorative throw pillow. Perhaps you have already guessed that I eventually peed through the pillow and through the red box, transferring the dye from the box to the tiles WITH MY URINE. Gross, I know. Arguably grosser? The fact that my mom just washed the whole thing off and we played with that Scrabble game for years.

    The problem in this instance (and, to be honest, throughout my entire life so far) was that I didn't "listen to my body." In fact, I HATE listening to my body. Even as an adult, I always wait too long before I give in and run to the bathroom. I don't sleep. I drink Diet Coke instead of water. For some reason I feel the need to constantly assert the fact that I am in charge. My body is not the boss of me and I'll do it 'cause I want to and not 'cause my body tells me to! Obviously this is very self-defeating behavior, but what can you do?

    Well, my body is getting the last laugh. For the past several months, all I've done is listen to my body and try to anticipate and fulfill its every physical need. Why? Because now my body has the leverage it has always lacked: puke. Don't get enough sleep? PUKE. Don't eat enough? PUKE. Don't eat the right thing? PUKE. Don't eat at the right time? PUKE. Move too suddenly or in the wrong direction? PUKE. (Can you hear the maniacal laughter coming from the vicinity of my stomach?) Nothing says "I am not in charge of my own body" like a good round of vomit, especially when you hate throwing up as much as I do.

    Say it with me: one more week. I've been in charge for 28 years--I guess I can listen to my body for one more week. I'll even throw in six more months of above-average consideration.

    But if you see a pleasantly pink-tinted Scrabble game at D.I., think twice before buying it.

    February 13, 2007

    Lisa: tick tock

    Because it is my life's mission to copy Maggie in every possible way, I had to get a pregnancy countdown ticker. Mine looks like this:

    It'll be at the very bottom of the main page of our site until I get tired of it.

    February 12, 2007

    Lisa: the secret is out

    Maybe some of you already know, and some of you have already guessed, but I am having a BABY. Yes, that's right, I am GROWING A WHOLE SEPARATE PERSON INSIDE OF ME. From SCRATCH. It's kind of blowing my mind. Here's how it went down (conception excluded [obviously]):

    1) Four weeks ago I stopped drinking Diet Coke because I thought I was getting an ulcer.
    2) Three and a half weeks ago I thought my reproductive organs had shriveled and died, possibly crumbling into a black powder.
    3) Three weeks ago I was getting really tired of having the stomach flu.
    4) On January 23rd I finally figured out what was going on and took a pregnancy test. I broke the news to Blake by walking into our bedroom at 6:00am brandishing the test. "Um. Blake? This stick says we're going to have a baby."
    5) Two weeks ago our immediate families found out through the postal system--a tiny slip of paper wrapped around a little plastic baby and stuffed into a small mailing tube with tissue paper. I was too shy to call everyone.
    6) Last week we started referring to it as Las Plagas, which of course makes me The Infected.
    7) This morning I had my first prenatal doctor's appointment. Not only did I get to HEAR the HEARTBEAT, but I saw a little blob wiggling around on the ultrasound screen! It is confirmed: something is definitely in there.

    This isn't a blog about a baby, so I'll try not to get obnoxious or too boring, but having a kid is going to be kind of a big thing for me. You may be hearing about Las Plagas from time to time--consider yourself warned.

    February 09, 2007

    Lisa: appetizing

    You know what sounds good to me today?

  • Grilled American cheese on Wonder bread. Or maybe open-faced grilled sharp Cheddar on sourdough with a big slice of tomato on top.

  • ham-and-pineapple pizza (Best cold pizza breakfast ever.)

  • raw chocolate chip cookie dough

  • brussels sprouts
  • What? I'm completely normal. No, really.

    January 22, 2007

    Lisa: not in the best of taste

    My stomach has developed a sudden and inexplicable (but nonetheless vehement) hatred for bile. I have tried explaining that bile and my stomach should just get along, that they could in fact work together in perfect harmony, but to no avail. Whenever my stomach detects the presence of its arch enemy, the offending bile must immediately be expelled. Alas.

    May 23, 2006

    Lisa: office

    Continuing the painting saga, I painted our office a few weeks ago. The color is a bright grass green, and it turned out REALLY bright. I like the color a lot, but I'm still getting used to it. It's very invigorating, which I guess is good for an office--maybe I will be lots more productive.

    Here are some before and after pictures for you:

    I do like how the green looks against the yellow of the hall.

    When I saw the green paint with our red desk, I realized the colors matched our stuffed George and Martha perfectly! Not that there are any little Smiths on the way at the moment, but wouldn't a George and Martha nursery be AWESOME? Keep an eye out for George and Martha merchandise for me, would you?

    April 15, 2003

    Lisa: Monotonous Doesn't Mean Boring!

    I wish I had more routine in my life. Really! I long for the comfort that I imagine routine will bring. For example, Monday should be library day. Pack up the (future) little kiddies in the car with their canvas tote bags of last weeks books, and come home with a promising new batch. Maybe even check out a musical or something vaguely educational on video to watch before bed on Monday night.

    On a related note, my dad always goes to the dry cleaners on Saturdays. I have accompanied him on this errand many times, basking in his company even when we couldnt relate to each other well enough to come up with any conversation. I wish I could convince Blake to go to the dry cleaners every Saturday. Imagineall the clothes I own, available to wear on a whim! No more late-night or pre-concert dry cleaner-related panic! On the other hand, going to the dry cleaner on a very infrequent basis has its benefits. Just the other day, the dry cleaners handed me a fetching black silk sweater that I had completely forgotten I owned! It was like Christmas.

    Maybe Ill wait until Blake and I have kids to settle into a fulfilling, satisfying routine. After all, Sarah already thinks my married life sounds monotonous. Plus, Im not quite ready to give up those unpredictable, devil-may-care trips to the dry cleaner.